Want to shave some calories off your day without spending hours at the gym or giving up all your favorite foods? Try just one of these tips for a quick calorie cut you’ll barely even notice!
1. Pass on the frappucino. Even downsizing won’t help that coffee drink you’re addicted to. At one major coffee house, the calorie counts range from 200 to almost 600 calories depending on size. A coffee with skim milk and artificial sweetener is only about 15 calories. If you want to be indulgent, add a tablespoon of caramel syrup for only 50 extra calories (and two Extras on Nutrisystem).
2. Share. The omelet you ordered that takes up your entire plate could cost you 600 calories, depending on the fillings and toppings. Put half on your dining partner’s plate and you just saved 300 calories. Hint: Going halves-ies will work with your lunch and dinner entrées too!
3. Mix and match. That omelet? You can eat the whole thing if you order it or make it with three or four egg whites. That amounts to fewer than 100 calories (and equates to about one PowerFuel on Nutrisystem). Want to treat yourself to a sprinkle of low- or non-fat cheese? Fine, just opt for two egg whites instead. Either way, fill up with lots of veggies, and you won’t break the calorie bank.
4. Choose the soup, chill on the sandwich. Even a six-inch tuna sub is going to cost you 430 calories and roast beef sandwich, a whopping 620 calories! But a bowl of filling vegetable soup, even the chunky kind with beef, is only about 200-250 calories (for two cups).
5. Trade cream for beans. Your favorite creamy soup doesn’t need real cream—which can add 300 or more calories a cup—to taste comforting. A half cup of pureed white beans (one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem) will do the trick, plus add filling fiber to keep you satisfied.
6. Spend “happy hour” at the gym with a friend. Three, three-ounce glasses of white wine is almost 300 calories. And, says a study by the Alcohol Research Group, you get far more than three ounces at your favorite watering hole: Your bartender is more likely to pour six-plus ounces in your glass. And since alcohol loosens your inhibitions, who stops at one? Instead of adding 300 calories, subtract them at the gym with a pal. A jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes will torch those calories. Afterwards, reward yourself a delicious “mocktail” at home. You earned it!
7. Peel off a slice of cheese. And eat just half the meat in your ham and cheese deli sandwich. One slice of cheddar is about 113 calories and ham is about 203 calories a slice. You know they pile the meat on so high you can barely get your mouth around it so you’re not going to miss half.
8. Have a drink of water. You’ve already heard that old weight loss trick: Drink lots of water when you’re dieting. But what you may not know is that since we get much of the fluid we need to hydrate ourselves from the food we eat, the differences between hunger and thirst signals can be subtle. Interestingly, in surveys measuring food and water intake in large populations, water intake drops when food intake rises. Thirst signals also grow fainter as we age. So, when you’re feeling famished, have a glass of water instead of reaching for a snack. That’s the best way to find out if you’re really hungry or just parched.
9. Jiggle your foot. Sounds crazy, right? But Mayo Clinic research found that people who “fidgeted”—jiggled their feet when seated, paced, etc.—were burning up to 692 calories more a day than those who weren’t as active (yes, fidgeting counts as exercise). The average calorie burn was 350.
10. Avoid tech at the table. Staring at your phone or the TV while you’re eating makes you consume as much as 10 percent more at your meal—and 25 percent more at subsequent meals, say several studies looking at how tech affects eating habits. University of Massachusetts research estimated people gobble up 288 more calories on average when they nosh in front of the tube. One reason, according to research published in the journal Psychological Science: We’re less satisfied with our meals when we’re distracted, so we eat more, hoping for more pleasure.