This article was republished with permission from fitnessrepublic.com.
There are diets that will slash that extra caloric intake from your diet, assuming that you’re following a 2,000-calorie or more diet. But everyone is different and your intake of calories is personal to you. That’s why we rounded up the top 10 ways to cut 500 calories from your diet, without a meal plan. It’s much more adaptable to your lifestyle.
1. Recognize What 500 Calories Looks Like
500 calories isn’t small. For some people it can be an entire meal. But we don’t want you to skip meals, just know what 500 calories look like. And more often than not, it’s about one menu item on a fast food menu. Check out the lifehack.org picks of 500 calorie foods. You might think of them as a snack or a quick bite, but if you’re grabbing an Arby’s Beef ‘n Cheddar Classic, plain bagel with cream cheese, a Dunkin Donuts Medium Frozen Mint Chocolate Chip Coffee or any other items on the list, you’re adding 500 calories to your diet that you just don’t need.
2. Skip Dessert
Finishing off dinner with dessert every night? That’s one 500-calorie plateful you don’t need. The University of Illinois says that by cutting dessert from your diet, you’ll reduce the number of calories you eat daily.
3. Don’t Taste When You Cook
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Cooking your own meals is one way to ensure that you’re eating good healthy food, but if you’re nibbling when you prepare your meals, you could be consuming extra calories. Especially if you are doing this for every meal and snack. According to health.com, tasting food as you prep and cook, as well as having a glass of wine or two can add up! Tell yourself it’s okay to taste the veggies, put the wine on ice, and compensate your meal with a smaller portion if you do give in to tasting.
4. Change Your Twice-a-day Latte Fix
Sure coffee breaks are a great way to decompress at the office, bond with a coworker or two or even get that caffeine boost to get you through the morning and afternoon. But that frothy café beverage, which often can be around 250 calories (twice a day that’s 500 calories!), can be sabotaging your weight-loss goals. Greatist.com lists coffee drinks as a “danger food” for that reason, and references studies that show weight impact of beverages (“calorie-packed drinks to account for nearly one fourth of Americans’ overall calorie intake”). So if you do need that fix, allow yourself a black coffee, or wean yourself down from the artisan coffees to a regular coffee with milk.
5. Drop Meat From Your Diet, Sometimes
The flexitarian diet has gained momentum as of late because meat can be high in calories and have negative effects on health. But instead of becoming a vegetarian, when you’re a flexitarian you can enjoy meat every now and then, reports Mayo Clinic. But there is still an emphasis on protein though. You consume it through beans, legumes, tofu and nuts. When you do eat meat, it is lean poultry and heart-healthy fish.
6. Stop Drinking Your Calories
You know that the calories from coffee beverages can add up, but so can the caloris from other drinks too. The Star reports that energy drinks, vitamin-enhanced waters, vegetable and fruit blend juices can add a huge caloric punch to your day. And that bottle of soda you had for lunch, that likely equals not just one serving, but two to three servings. Stick with water, black coffee or tea when you get thirsty. No calories there.
7. Eat True Portion Sizes
Value sizing, supersizing and oversized portions at restaurants have skewed our views on what a proper portion should be. Check the nutrition facts panel on packaged food and stick with one portion. As for when you prep your own food, consider this visual cheat for portion sizes from webmd.com.
- Vegetables or fruit = your fist
- Pasta = one scoop of ice cream
- Meat, fish, or poultry = deck of cards or the palm of your palm
- Snacks, like pretzels and chips = a handful
- Side dishes like potatoes = a computer mouse.
- Piece of cheese = a pair of dice or your thumb
8. Skip The Smoothie
Do you treat yourself to a smoothie after your morning workout? Know that a large 32-ounce smoothie can have 800 or more calories, reports health.com. Instead have a bowl of oatmeal and banana with a cup of black coffee and you’ll save more than 500 calories!
9. Smell Fruit
You know how the scent of barbecue, french fries or bread baking can make you crave that food you smell? Well, the smell of bananas and green apples can curb cravings, reports Prevention Magazine. Apparently by taking a sniff of these fruits can make you feel satiated, like you’ve already eaten. And since the caloric difference between those high-fat, high-carb foods and a banana or an apple is huge, you’ve saved yourself more than 500 calories with just one sniff.
10. Cut 100 Calories Through Out Your Day
Cutting 100 calories seems to be more doable than cutting 500 calories, so why not cut 100 calories from your day five times! This Fitness Magazine article suggest how to cut 100 calories a day with simple food swaps. But why not do it with every meal and snack? That equals 500 calories. Easy peasy.
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