So you’d like to shed a few pounds but the word diet makes you shudder – we hear ya. But with a couple of nips here and a few tucks there, you can cut back 500 calories a day without making huge sacrifices – and lose up to one pound a week. That’s right: small calorie savings add up to big weight loss over time. Mix and match these 20 tricks and watch the pounds disappear!
· Save 50 calories Instead of tossing back a glass of orange juice with your breakfast, eat an actual orange, says Vancouver registered dietitian Ramona Josephson. Bonus: more fibre.
· Save 75 calories Edmonton resident Keri Guenther, who has lost 90 pounds on Weight Watchers by making small calorie cuts, loves Tim Hortons’ English Toffee Cappuccino. When she treats herself, she asks her server to fill half her cup with regular coffee before adding the sugar-laden beverage, reducing the calories by half.
· Save 100 calories Cut the fat, keep the meat: instead of five strips of bacon, opt for two slices of leaner grilled back bacon.
· Save 125 calories Since egg yolks contain fat and are high in cholesterol, whip up a breakfast omelette with one whole egg and two protein-rich egg whites. Bonus: registered dietitian Linda Barton of Petersburg, Ont., says eating eggs keeps you feeling full longer.
· Save 200 calories Swap yogurt with granola for a cereal with at least four grams of fibre and a small amount of your favourite sweet cereal. “Nothing beats Shredded Wheat with Froot Loops sprinkled on top,” says Mary Meldrum of Waterloo, Ont., who’s lost 65 pounds.
· Save 50 calories Use calorie-reduced mayonnaise instead of full-fat mayo on your sandwich (to add some kick, mix a few drops of your favourite hot sauce with the mayo first).
· Save 75 calories Ottawa resident Maritia Gully hardly ever uses low-fat salad dressing. Instead, she tops her greens with a mix of 1 tablespoon (15 mL) each water and regular dressing. “It tastes a lot better,” adds Gully, who’s lost about 30 pounds.
· Save 100 calories Melissa Raghunandan loves cream soups but hates their high-calorie price tags. So, the Kitchener, Ont., resident, who has dropped 10 pounds, thickens both homemade and canned soups with evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream.
· Save 125 calories Ditch the lunchtime bagel in favour of two slices of multi-grain toast and you’ll lose calories and gain healthy fibre.
· Save 200 calories If you’re at a fast-food joint, you’re better off ordering a regular burger – hold the mayo – than the breaded chicken or fish sandwich. If you aren’t craving a burger, go for the grilled chicken and you’ll still save about 100 calories.
· Save 50 calories For those must-eat-fries-now moments, opt for 15 thick-cut fries instead of 25 skinny ones. Massimo Marcone, a professor of food science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, found that thick-cut fries contain about 20 per cent fewer calories each than skinny fries because they’ve absorbed less oil.
· Save 75 calories You don’t have to banish all carbs from your dinner plate to cut calories. Swap rice with 1/2 cup (125 mL) couscous cooked in vegetable or chicken broth.
· Save 100 calories Lora Samaha of Calgary has lost 35 pounds with her calorie-saving tricks, including substituting Yves Veggie Ground Round for ground beef in lasagna, chili and more. It delivers the same amount of protein with fewer calories.
· Save 125 calories Give your veggies flavour by sautéing them in your favourite broth or wine instead of oil.
· Save 200 calories Gully gives in to her cravings for alfredo sauce, but instead of making it with calorie-laden heavy cream, she uses creamed cottage cheese. “It satisfies my craving for something creamy and makes the meal richer without adding a lot of calories,” she says.
· Save 75 calories Carm Bozzo of Hamilton lost 13 pounds four years ago and has kept it off. One of her calorie-saving secrets is to reach for frozen low-calorie pudding cups instead of fat-laden ice cream.
· Save 100 calories Out for drinks? Instead of downing two glasses of wine, swap one for sparkling water.
· Save 125 calories If you’re craving a soda, mix Crystal Light with soda water. Bonus: you’ll also cut back on caffeine.
· Save 200 calories Nuts offer fibre and a generous helping of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. But 1/2 cup (125 mL) of most nuts packs almost 400 calories, says registered dietitian Linda Barton of Petersburg, Ont. Try this: mix 1/4 cup (50 mL) of almonds with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of your favourite high-fibre cereal.
· Save 250 calories Opt for biscotti instead of a muffin at your local coffee house to satisfy your sweet tooth, says Toronto registered dietitian Susan Osher. Just don’t choose one covered in chocolate!