Top 10 easy ways to cut calories

There are two ways to lose weight – burn more calories or eat less of them. It sounds simple right? So why is it so difficult to lose weight?

Well, with our top 10, easy-to-follow tips to trimming calories painlessly, there are no more excuses...

Switch to low calorie versions

Swapping from whole milk to semi-skimmed milk will save you around 56 calories and 6.5g fat a day if you use ½ pint a day. Over the course of a year, this simple change could save you 5lbs of body fat! Think of the other changes you could make – yoghurt, margarine, crisps, mayonnaise, salad dressing and even garlic bread all have lower calorie versions. But do be careful - fat free doesn't equal calorie free! Many reduced fat products have extra sugar added to maintain the taste and texture we enjoy so read those nutrition labels to make sure the lower fat version isn't actually higher in calories or more unhealthy than the original!

Snack smart

That means planning what you eat between meals. Don’t leave it to chance and end up having whatever is in the nearest vending machine - bring your own snacks with you! Opt for low fat, low calorie snacks like cereal and milk, crackers and breads, popcorn, rice cakes, wholegrain cereal bars, veggie sticks, dried, tinned or fresh fruit and low fat yoghurts.

Eat breakfast

It might sound strange to say ‘eat to lose weight', but research indicates that eating breakfast can prevent excessive eating throughout the day. It's also a great way to kick-start your metabolism and start burning calories!

Watch how you cook

Cut way back on fried foods and use the minimum of oil when you griddle, sauté or stir-fry. You don't have to say goodbye to your favourites - simply cook them in the oven instead of in fat! Boiling, steaming and grilling are also low fat ways to cook.

Choose leaner cuts of meat

Limit your intake of processed meats like bacon, sausages and sausage-type luncheon meats like pepperoni or salami to cut calories. Choose the leanest cuts of meat that you can afford and always remove the skin from poultry. Choose white meat whenever possible.

Have a smarter starter

Begin each meal with a large salad or a bowl of veggie-packed soup to fill you up and prevent over-eating at the dinner table.

Reduce your portion sizes

Try cutting down by a third. The chances are you don’t need the extra calories and you don’t need to feel quite so full. It will help to try to eat more slowly so that you will begin to feel full as you eat. This will take a bit of getting used to but you will get used to it! Obviously, the number of calories you save depends on what you are eating, but over time this could save you pounds.

You don’t have to finish what’s on your plate

Cancel your membership to the clean plate club, especially when you are eating out or having take aways. You don't have to waste half your meal - doggie bags are the perfect way to enjoy two fair-sized meals instead of one pig-out portion!

Be food aware

Start reading food labels. Sometimes it can be difficult to know which foods are laden in calories and it’s easy to get caught out by clever marketing. Read articles on food and nutrition in the newspapers, magazines, on the net and here in our News section. You can’t cut calories without nutrition know-how.

Watch what you drink

You’d be amazed how much drinks can add to your daily intake of calories. Take a typical day – a glass of orange juice for breakfast (72 calories in 200ml), a coffee with sugar at break time (20 calories), a can of coke through the afternoon (129 calories) and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner (approximately 200 calories). Not exactly excessive but the total is around 420 calories! Watch the serving sizes when drinking juice or milk and try to stick to water as much as possible. Try gradually giving up sugar in your tea and coffee and switching to low sugar drinks for a week. It will make a big difference to your calorie intake.

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