My clients are always asking for ways to cut hidden calories from their dietary pattern. Especially after Thanksgiving as we gear up for Halloween and Christmas events – I’ve had an increase in this question. I explain it like this, “Eating the extra 200 calories per day is like spending an extra $200 per day, at the end of the week you are up 1000 calories and your bank account is down $1000!” We agree – neither is beneficial.
I’ve always promoted healthy lifestyle habits over counting calories. However, just like creating a financial budget, it’s good to review the basics and make sure you are on track. Let’s explore five easy steps to cut some of those extra calories daily.
1. Flavoured and Speciality Coffees
Skip the Frappacino with extra whip for a skim milk latte with extra foam and cut over 200 calories. Order an Americano instead and it’s basically calorie-free!
2. Sour Cream
Replace 14% sour cream with 2% plain Greek yogurt for dressings, sauces and dips. You won’t only cut calories but you will add a protein-packed alternative to your meals and snacks.
3. Bagel, Muffin and Bread Size
Most people in North American consume bagels and bread on a daily bases. Bagels, muffins and bread slices vary in weight and sizes. Replace the extra large coffee shop bagel with an English muffin and save 150 to 200 calories.
Consider skipping the glass of wine (>200 calories per 250 mL) at lunch or supper and replace it with sparkling or still water.
5. Plate Size
Are you consuming too much in general? My clients are always surprised when I tell them plate sizes have doubled in diameter over the past 30 years. Interestingly, the prevalence of obesity has skyrocketed in the past 30 years. Use a lunch plate for dinner so you stick to the correct portion sizes and don’t over consume those extra calories.
Along with implementing simple strategies to reduce calories, follow the guideline of eating healthy 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time. For one week, record everything you eat and drink and your activities. Check to see if the 80/20 tip applies. And as you are cutting some calories, walk 5 minutes more each day. The combination of eating healthy and adding 5 minutes more of activity to your fitness will be the winning tactic to promote weight loss. And remember to get your zzz’s because a lack of sleep can be a factor in weight gain.