If you need to lose weight, you need to cut calories. It’s as easy as that. No matter what fancy name your weight loss programme rejoices in, it works by cutting calorie consumption. To lose weight, you need to consume 3,500 calories less than your body needs to function normally, and the great news is, you can cut quite a few calories without even trying. Here are some simple ways to cut calories.
Forget the frying pan
For every tablespoon of oil you use for frying – even if it’s olive oil which is the Teacher’s Pet of fats – you’re looking at around 120 calories. One tablespoon of oil isn’t all that much, so you could be adding even more calories without realising it. Go for other options such as grilling, poaching or oven baking, where you can just brush with a little oil, then wrap in a foil parcel for all the taste of fried food without the calories.
Keep it natural
If you buy food in it’s natural state, you can see what you’re getting and, if necessary, cut off excess fat. However, if you buy your food processed, it’s not so easy to see what else is in there. To preserve the food and enhance the flavour, processed food manufacturers often add fat, sugar or salt – or any combination of these. You don’t need these hidden calories, so aim to cut out – or at least cut down – processed foods.
Dump the desserts
If you must finish off the meal with something sweet, go for fresh fruit. Most desserts contain extra sugar, and maybe extra fat, but that’s not the only problem. Desserts are ‘more-ish,’ so you’ll eat more than you should – it’s almost guaranteed. A bowl of fresh fruit salad with a small scoop of ice cream will provide your sweetness fix without upping the calorie count too much.
Avoid ’empty’ calories
Sugary soft drinks and alcohol provide calories but do nothing to earn their place in your diet. They don’t stop you from feeling hungry, and they don’t provide any nutritional value. Go for plain or sparkling water with a little lime or lemon juice, or unsweetened, natural fruit juices. If you must have alcohol, keep the calorie count down. Instead of a glass of wine, have a spritzer, with half wine and half sparkling water. Bypass the beer, which is high in calories and sugar. It’s better to make a long drink with a single measure of gin or vodka and fresh fruit juice or a low calorie mixer.
Max out on vegetables
Fill your plate with low calorie, filling vegetables, and cut down on meat and potatoes. Make vegetable alternatives to lasagne and chilli – it’s just as tasty, and far fewer calories. Make your own vegetable soup for a low fat, low calorie, filling lunch. Become best friends with vegetables and you can really cut down on calories.
When you’re trying to cut down on calories, remember the simple option is usually the lower calorie option. Anything that’s added to the basic food is usually going to add to the calorie count.