Big event coming up and want to look your best? Whether it’s a wedding, reunion, conference or beach trip, we’ve got you covered! Here’s ten easy ways to cut calories and lose weight fast.
Table of Contents
1. Drink Water
The easiest way to save calories (and sugar and sodium) is to replace all of your drinks with water. Water is hydrating, caffeine-free, calorie-free and sugar-free. So, if you’re trying to drop pounds fast, swap out any caloric drinks with water. If you can, skip even diet drinks. Some research suggests that artificial sweeteners increase appetite – the last thing you need while on a diet. If water bores you to tears, try adding some lemon, berries or cucumber to give your drinks some flavor.
2. Trade Simple Carbs for Veggies
Pasta, white rice and dinner rolls are delicious, but not-so-good for your waistline. These simple carbs have little to no fiber and lots of carbs. They also tend to be very calorie-heavy. So, if you’re hoping to drop a few pounds, try replacing these simple carbs with nutritious, fiber-rich veggies. Use zoodles (spiralized zucchini) instead of pasta, lettuce leaves instead of bread (make wraps), and riced cauliflower instead of white rice. If you’re not quite ready to go all the way with the veggies, at least sub your white grains for whole grains. Whole grain products contain more fiber, meaning they’ll keep you fuller for longer. Less hunger equals less food equals more weight loss.
3. Skip Desert
You’ve probably heard this one from your mom, and her mom, and her mom… Skipping desert is the most obvious and classic of weight loss advice. But it works! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, giving up sweets can save A TON of calories. Cakes, cookies, candy and puddings provide very little value nutritionally, but load your daily calorie budget with a heavy load. Skipping that daily pastry will save anywhere from 100-800 calories, and chances are you’ll hardly notice! After the first few days, at least.
4. Baked, Not Fried
Do you eat a lot of fried food? Fried chicken? French fries? Fried fish? Tortilla chips? Swap these same foods out for their baked versions and you’ll instantly save hundreds of calories per day. Baked or grilled chicken, baked potatoes (skin and all!), baked or grilled fish and baked chips are still very common, delicious and WAY healthier than their fried counterparts. If you want to go the extra mile, try to eliminate breaded proteins as well. For example, instead of breaded and fried chicken, opt for a grilled chicken breast instead. This way you’re avoiding both the calories (and fat) from frying oil, and calories (and sodium and fat) from the breading.
5. Swap Out Oil and Butter
Fats are the most calorie-dense of the micronutrients at 9 calories per gram (compared to only 4 calories per gram in carbs and protein). So, if you’re looking to cut calories and shed that extra weight, cutting fat is a sure way to go. This is not to say that low-fat diets are the best – there’s lots of mixed opinions on that – it’s just a fact that fat has lots of calories. If you lower the fat content of your normal foods, it will save calories. For example, use cooking spray instead of oil or butter to sauté foods on the stove. You can also trade oil and butter in baked goods for applesauce or banana to reduce fat content.
6. Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies per Day
One of my personal favorite tips for eating less is to focus on eating more! Instead of fixating on all of the things you’re not eating, set a goal for eating more healthy foods. If you commit to having 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day, chances are you’ll unconsciously replace something less healthy and cut calories overall. Snack on produce, serve veggies as sides, or choose a veggie-filled green salad as dinner. The more fruits and veggies the better!
7. Put a Hold on Happy Hour
Happy hour is fun, but it’s also a diet killer. Between the super-caloric drinks and the wildly unhealthy snacks, your traditional happy hour wreaks havoc on any diet plan. Instead of hitting the bar after work, suggest a group walk or some other dynamic activity. If your friends are set on happy hour, look for non-fried, non-breaded menu items and order a vodka soda or wine spritzer instead of the house cocktails to cut calories.
8. Fall in Love with Fiber
Fiber is your best friend if you’re constantly hungry. Fiber helps keep you full because it takes longer to be digested. The best plan is to include a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet to reap all of its benefits, including lower cholesterol, better blood sugar control, regular bowel movements and weight maintenance. The overall fiber goal for healthy adults is 25-30 grams per day. Foods with a lot of fiber include beans, whole grains and vegetables.
9. Drink Your Coffee or Tea Straight
One of the biggest hidden calorie sources for adults is extras they add to coffee and tea. Whether it’s sugar, creamer, milk or flavored syrups, the calories (and fat and sugar) add up fast if you’re drinking 2-3 cups per day. Instead of ordering a flavored latte with whipped cream, opt for coffee and milk. If you’re into fancier drinks, choose a café latte (without added flavor, sugar or whipped cream). Same goes for tea – the simpler the better.
10. Eat Broth-Based Soup for Lunch
Last but not least, go for soup for lunch (or dinner if that’s your lighter meal). Broth-based soups like chicken noodle or minestrone are low in calories and still pretty filling given their high water content. If you get too hungry when you only eat soup, pair it with a small salad or some fruit. The extra ruffage will help tide you over until the next meal, while still keeping the overall calorie count low.