|Cutting calories the easy way|
Cutting calories the easy way
By Cara Rosenbloom RD
You may snicker when you hear your lunch mate order salad dressing on the side or ask the chef to “hold the mayo.” But these little tricks are excellent examples of calorie-cutting techniques that can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Since being overweight is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, it’s important to make an effort to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You may have tried many weight control strategies, but one of the simplest – and most successful – is eating fewer calories.
Calories = energy
A calorie is a measure of how much energy is in a food. If you take in more than your body needs, you can gain weight. (Exercise can help you burn calories, of course; find activity tips here.) Even small adjustments – say, reducing your food intake by 100 calories a day – can help lower weight gradually and prevent weight gain. Consider implementing some of these ideas to easily save 100 calories at dinner or lunch:
- Remove the skin from chicken breasts
- Use 5 mL (1 teaspoon) of mustard instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich
- Make your own salad dressing with one-quarter or one-half less oil. Try our Orange poppyseed dressing
- Omit the cheese sauce from your steamed vegetables
- Bake fish or chicken instead of deep-frying it. Try our Tangy crunchy chicken
- Replace half the butter with unsweetened applesauce in homemade muffins, cookies and cake
- Use lettuce leaves instead of tortillas to make wraps and tacos. Try our Chicken lettuce tacos
- Enjoy soup made from pureed vegetables instead of cream. Try our Mushroom and squash soup
Calories can add up quickly when you snack often or drink sugary beverages. When it comes to snacks and drinks, you can save 100 calories if you:
- Dip celery or cucumber instead of 12 tortilla chips into salsa
- Enjoy 250 mL (1 cup) of blueberries instead of 20 jelly beans
- Eat a medium orange instead of drinking 250 mL (1 cup) of orange juice
- Quench your thirst with 250 mL (1 cup) of sodium-free mineral water instead of cola
- Order your cappuccino or latte with skim milk instead of whole milk
- Replace 60 mL (four tablespoons) of coffee cream with skim milk
Another simple way to cut calories is to use smaller plates, bowls and cups. With less space to fill, you tend to eat less – as long as you skip seconds! All these easy changes take just a small effort, but could help you achieve big results.
Here are some more tools to help you manage your weight:
My Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan is a free, 12-week interactive program to help you get started on achieving a healthy weight.
A healthy waistline can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Find out more here.
Watch a video on how to take your waist measurement:
Can't see the video? View the QuickTime version.
Posted: October 2011