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16 Ways to Trim Fat and Slash Calories

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16 Ways to Trim Fat and Slash Calories


I found this article in an old Eating Light magazine and thought I would post it here. Much of it makes sense and some may be things some of us didn't even think about doing:


Losing one pound a week requires cutting a total of 3,500 calories from your week;s worth of intake. That may sound daunting at first, but it actually translates to a reduction of only 500 calories a day. Simple lifestyle changes, some you may not even notice, can add up quickly to meet and even exceed that reduction. Here's how to tweak what you eat, how you cook, and what to buy to slash calories without feeling deprived.


1. Redefine your plate. When dinner is a protein, a starch and a vegetable, assemble foods on your plate so half the space is taken up by vegetables. Then use a quarter of the remaining space for meat, chicken or fish, and the last quarter for potatoes, rice or noodles. Doing this saves hundreds of calories while still allowing you to enjoy all your favorites.


2. Be flaky. Choosing flaked cereals gives you more quantity, and satisfaction, for the same amount of calories than nugget style selections. For instance, a typical cup of flaked cereal might have 110 calories, while a more dense nugget or cluster variety can cost you double for the same serving.


3. Save fat for flavor. In place of oil, saute vegetables, chicken or beef in low sodium broth. Broth provides flavor as well as the moisture needed to keep foods from sticking to the bottom of the pan, without the fat and calories of oil (120 per tablespoon). A quality nonstick pan can also turn out fluffy flapjacks and expertly cooked omelets with little or no fat needed.


4. Give it a spritz. When you must use oil for cooking, use vegetable or other oil sprays to keep fat to a minimum and still retain flavor.


5. Hold the cheese and mayo. Instead, heap your burger or sandwich with pickles, lettuce, onion and tomato. Mayo and a slice of cheese can add 200 calories to a sandwich. If you crave flavor, top sandwiches with mustard, slices of artichoke hearts, pepper (packed in water) or grilled portobello mushrooms.


6. Make guilt-free fries. slice potatoes into strips, toss with just a spritz of canola oil spray, season with salt, pepper or a seasoning blend, then roast at 400° until crisp, about 35 minutes. A cup of these morsels is about 120 calories; use sweet potatoes and get a vitamin rich snack, too.


7. Choose fullness. Select foods that offer more bulk for less calories. For breakfast, skip juices and dried fruits and eat whole fruits instead. A 1/4 cup of rasins is 100 calories; for the same 100 calories you can eat two cups of grapes. If you like toast, look for whole grain breads sliced extra thin, so you can still enjoy a delicious slice, but at 40 calories as opposed to one that weighs in at 80 or more.


8. Shop with a plan. Cut calories in advance by shopping on a full stomach to avoid those hunger induced impulse purchases. Another calorie saver, bring a list. Adhering to it will limit purchases that aren't necessities.


9 Shop the produce aisle first, and spend the most time there. Half your shopping cart should be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. The rest of the real estate should be divided equally between lean proteins, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, and whole grains, such as high fiber cereals and whole wheat pasta.


10. Buy single servings. People always eat more when they have a large container in front of them. Enforce portion control and eliminate extra calories by buying popcorn in one serving bags, and ice cream in single serve portions such as fudge pops, ice cream sandwiches or small cups rather than pints or gallons.


11. Push the envelope. Recipes aren't carved in stone. Cutting back fat and sugar by even a quarter in most recipes doesn't usually affect results, but does save on calories and fat. Experiment to find what works, then modify the recipe for good.


12. Do yogurt greek style. Creamy country style yogurt is the dessert rage in restaurants. Make your own decadent version by straining nonfat yogurt through a colander lined with paper towels. After the liquid whey drains away, the end result is a no fat, rich, sour cream like yogurt. Serve drizzled with a teaspoon honey or season with herbs for a vegetable dip.


13. See the light. If you've been turned off by the taste of fat free foods, try light alternatives instead. The taste is usually a lot better with light products and you still get 50 percent less fat or calories than with the regular version iof the food.


14. Downsize your latte. There's nothing wrong with a skim latte except if you down a couple of large sized drinks a day. Eught ounces of skim milk equals 90 calorie; in a 20 ounce iced latte drink, the skim milk can add up to 200 calories. Those calories can really add up after a few lattes.


15. Redefine chili. Brown half as much lean ground beef as the recipe calls for and drain the fat. Rinse under cool running water to remove even more fat. Add extra beans, dark red or light kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans and vegetables such as chopped peppers and tomatoes to replace the beef.


16. Satisfy nacho cravings. Cut soft flour tortillas into wedges; crisp in a 400° oven for four minutes. Remove to a plate and top wedges with tomatoes and onions, shredded lettuce, carrots and jicama, and strips of red, yellow and green peppers. Scoop on fat free refried beans and sprinkle with low fat shredded cheddar. The result: a great tasting nacho plate with half the calories.




original starting weight 270

returned to WW Oct. 12, 2005


Celebrate what you've accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.

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