When it comes to weight management and adopting a healthier lifestyle, cutting calories plays a vital role. Consuming fewer calories than you burn each day can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy body weight, and even improve your overall health.
In this post, you’ll learn about six simple ways to cut calories from your day without giving up on taste or flavor.
These practical methods have helped many people lose weight and maintain healthy body weight, and they can help you too.
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1. Choose Water Over Sugary Beverages
One of the easiest ways to cut calories from your day is to replace sugary beverages with water.
Drinks like soda, juice, and sweetened coffee can pack a significant calorie punch, often without making you feel full.
For example, swapping a 12-ounce can of soda (150 calories) for a glass of water can save you up to 150 calories per drink.
Not only will this help you cut calories, but staying hydrated can also aid digestion and increase your energy levels.
Generally speaking, drinking water before meals makes you feel full and less hungry, so you eat fewer calories.
According to research, drinking water before a meal can reduce calorie intake by up to 13%.
If you’re a coffee drinker, consider drinking your coffee black or with a splash of unsweetened almond milk.
A typical 16-ounce coffee with cream and sugar can contain around 240 calories, while black coffee has only five calories.
2. Go for Smaller Portions
Oversized portions are a major contributor to excess calorie consumption.
By simply reducing the size of your meals, you can cut calories without feeling deprived.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when participants were served smaller portions, they consumed fewer calories without feeling hungrier.
Try using smaller plates or splitting a meal with a friend to help control your portion sizes.
3. Eat More Vegetables
Of course, adding more vegetables to your meals is a nutritious way to cut calories. Vegetables are generally low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer.
For instance, swapping 1 cup of cooked pasta (200 calories) for 1 cup of zucchini noodles (25 calories) can save you 175 calories.
Additionally, vegetables provide you with essential vitamins and minerals, like potassium, iron, dietary fiber, zinc, folate, and vitamins A, C, and B vitamin.
4. Choose Lean Proteins
Eating lean protein-rich foods can help you reduce calorie intake and maintain muscle mass.
Generally, protein has a high thermic effect. In other words, it takes more energy to digest than fat or carbs. As a result, you burn more calories digesting protein than other macronutrients.
Additionally, protein helps you feel full and satisfied for longer periods, so you eat fewer calories. However, evidence suggests that some protein sources can be high in calories due to their fat content.
Therefore, go for lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey, or fish, which have fewer calories compared to fattier cuts of meat.
For example, 3 ounces of cooked skinless chicken breast has approximately 140 calories, while the same amount of cooked steak can contain up to 230 calories.
5. Cook at Home
Experts believe that cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients in your meals and, subsequently, the number of calories you consume.
A study published in Public Health Nutrition revealed that people who cook at home more frequently consume fewer calories than those who eat out.
When you cook at home, try using healthier cooking methods like baking, steaming, or grilling, and use less oil and salt to cut calories further.
6. Be Mindful of Snacking
Believe it or not, snacking can easily contribute to excess calorie intake if you’re not careful.
Choose healthier, low-calorie snacks to keep hunger at bay without adding too many calories to your day.
For instance, choose snacks like fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus, or a handful of nuts. These options are not only lower in calories but also provide essential nutrients.