To reduce the number of calories in your diet without eating less, try these 10 simple substitutions.
When it comes to eating, there is no such thing as willpower. We have to eat until our appetite is satisfied. Sure, we may be able to live with a little extra hunger for a few days or weeks while trying to diet, but that’s the limit. Any diet or weight management strategy that stands a chance of achieving long-term success must supply no more than the number of daily calories that are needed to maintain our ideal body weight without also failing to fully satisfy our appetite.
Many people eat more than enough to satisfy their appetite. In other words, they stuff themselves. But if you do not stuff yourself, then you cannot hope to lose weight by eating less, because eating less will make you feel hungry. You have to find a way to eat fewer calories without eating less food. You can achieve this objective by making the following 10 smart substitutions as frequently as possible in your diet.
1. Replace a non-vegetable food with a vegetable (or increase a vegetable portion)
Vegetables are said to be less “calorically dense” than other foods because their high water and fiber content makes them very filling compared to other foods of equal calories. Here are other examples of ways to make this substitution:
• a stir-fry with more vegetables and less meat and/or rice
• a sandwich wrap (i.e. sandwich ingredients wrapped in a soft tortilla) instead of a regular sandwich with bread (not only do tortillas have fewer calories than sandwich bread, but it’s easier to stuff a wrap with more veggies)
• a burrito with less meat, more beans, and grilled veggies added
• kabobs with less meat and more veggies
• pizza with a thinner crust, slightly less cheese vegetable toppings (e.g. tomatoes and green peppers).
You don’t have to follow any strict formula, but as a general guideline, try to increase the size of your vegetable portion by 50-100 percent.
2. Replace a non-fruit food with a fruit (or increase a fruit portion)
Fruits are also less calorically dense than most foods. One way to make this substitution is to add fruits to foods or meals and reduce the amount of the other food(s) you’re eating. For example, instead of eating a whole eight-ounce tub of yogurt (232 calories), eat a bowl of berries (one-half cup) drizzled with vanilla yogurt (91 calories).
3. Replace a high-calorie beverage with a low-calorie beverage
Currently, one in five calories in the average American’s diet comes from beverages. If you’re an average American, you could cut up to 20 percent of the calories from your daily diet by replacing beverages such as gourmet coffee drinks, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages with water.
4. Replace a fried food with a non-fried food
Oils used for frying add a lot of fat calories to foods that would otherwise be fairly lean. Sometimes it’s hard to say “no” to fried foods, but it’s easier when you say “yes” to alternatives that are also quite delicious. For example, a serving of Spicy Chicken Strips (breaded and fried) from Popeye’s restaurant has 310 calories. A serving of Popeye’s Naked Strips (roasted) has just 170 calories, and they’re just as tasty.
5. Replace a high-fat meat with a lean meat
There are huge differences in the number of calories in lean and fatty meats. For example, by replacing an 85-percent lean ground beef hamburger patty with a 95-percent lean ground beef hamburger patty you’ll take in 60 fewer calories.
6. Replace a high-calorie sauce, condiment, or topping with a low-calorie alternative
Substitute the sauces, condiments, and toppings you normally use with reduced-calorie versions of the same. There are light versions of almost everything, including mayonnaise, salad dressings, and peanut butter. Each one alone will not cut a ton of calories from your diet, but if you choose these products at every opportunity the savings will really add up. For example, light mayonnaise has 25 fewer calories per serving than regular mayonnaise.
7. Replace a refined grain with a whole grain
Whole grains such as brown rice and foods made with them contain more fiber and are therefore less calorically dense than refined grains such as white rice and foods made with them. A cup of cooked regular spaghetti noodles contains 221 calories, compared to just 174 in a cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta.
8. Replace a whole-milk dairy food with a reduce-fat dairy food
There are low-fat and non-fat versions of every type of dairy product, from milk to cheese to yogurt. Consume these versions whenever possible. Eight ounces of whole milk contain 146 calories. An equal amount of skim milk has just 83 calories.
9. Replace a high-calorie dessert with a low-calorie dessert
If you do have a sweet tooth and you just don’t consider your dinner complete until you’ve followed it with something sweet, then substitute the high-calorie desserts you now eat with low-calorie alternatives. A small bowl (½ cup) of ice cream has 143 calories. A large serving (1 cup) of mixed berries with a heaping tablespoon of low-fat vanilla yogurt drizzled on top contains exactly half as many calories.
10. Replace a non-organic food with an organic food
You can also buy organic versions of boxed and canned foods and other packaged foods. In addition to containing organically produced ingredients, such products do not contain most of the unhealthy additives (artificial colorings, preservatives, etc.) that are common in their non-organic counterparts. These products are typically made with fewer and better-quality ingredients, and as a result they are frequently lower in calories. For example, a serving of Walnut Acres Organic Chili contains 140 calories, or 60 fewer calories than an equal serving of non-organic Stagg Vegetable Garden Four-Bean Chili.
Organic animal foods (meat and fish) are leaner than non-organic ones due to the freedom of movement the animals enjoy during their lifetime and their superior diet. For example, organic chicken contains about a third less fat than non-organic chicken. Wild salmon has more than 25 percent less fat than farmed salmon.
Nutrition article courtesy of PacificHealth Laboratories, makers of nutrition tools such as Accelerade, Accel Gel, Endurox R4, Endurox Excel and much more. For product information or to purchase products, please visit www.pacifichealthlabs.com.
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