Hopefully more of you are beginning to work on revising some of the things you eat every day and are finding some lower calorie alternatives to cut corners. Cutting corners is what it is all about and if you can save 300 calories by changing the way you prep your food, then you can eat more good things to fill you up or even squeeze in a treat. It is all about fulfillment and feeling satisfied. If we are satisfied, then we won’t continue to seek unhealthy alternatives to do so!
Here are some of my favorite ways to cut corners to help me keep on track with weight maintenance:
- Use mustard instead of mayonnaise. On the days that you make sandwiches, leave out the mayonnaise. Mayonnaise has 90 calories per TBSP and regular yellow mustard only has 3 calories per teaspoon. Mustard adds the moisture for the bread and it has more taste than mayo. This should be a easy substitution to make.
- Use salsa rather than ketchup. Salsa is my ketchup. If anything needs a little livening up, then use some salsa. It is different and more festive, you can fantasize you are in a Mexican restaurant. I eat a lot of turkey, so I will usually dot the turkey with salsa, and then add a TBSP of low fat sour cream, which is only 20 calories. Salsa is relatively low in calories, ranging from 10-20 calories per 2 TBSPs serving depending on the brand. Of course my favorite brand is 20 calories per 2 TBSP, but it tastes head and shoulders above all the others I have tried and is worth it to me!
- Use lemon or lime juice rather than salad dressing. This is by far one of my favorite corners to cut and it is tasty too! My preference is key lime juice that I buy made by Nellie and Joe in Key West. It sells for roughly $3 a bottle and and you can find it at Publix and Kroger in the juices section. I put it on my salads or on my veggies. It is delightful and is 0 calories as opposed to salad dressings, which even the most diet versions begin at 25 calories a TBSP. Seriously, who uses just 1 TBSP of salad dressing? I eat my salads in a large mixing bowl, which is referred to in my house as my “trough” and I can use as much of the key lime juice as possible with no worries.
- Use herbs and spices and leave the butter in the fridge. Learn to experiment and to strive towards enhancing the flavor of food rather than covering it up with sauces and butter. Enjoy the taste of the food rather than that which covers it up. One of my favorite spices right now is basil. This might be an acquired taste to you, but I enjoy roasting eggplant and tomatoes in the oven. I spray them with Pam and sprinkle them with fresh basil. Sure does have a lot less calories than eggplant parmigiana! 1 serving of eggplant parmigiana at Olive Garden has 850 calories. 1 cup of raw eggplant is 20 calories and 1 medium tomato is 15 calories. My serving will probably be 4 or 5 cups of eggplant and the tomato, spray it with Pam and add basil, you are still around 100 calories, give or take for a large serving of food.
- Cut out liquid calories. Liquid calories is one of the easiest ways to pick up extra calories without realizing it, but cutting them out is one of the easiest ways to cut down on calories as well. If you must have orange juice in the morning, then substitute the orange juice with a fresh orange. You get the wonderful orange taste and fiber without the added sugar. Get rid of the regular sodas and beware of the diet colas that are sweetened with Sucralose. Sucralose causes the same spike that you get from sugar. Drink water instead. Yes, drink water. You need 8-10 glasses a day to stay hydrated and it increases your metabolism, which we discussed recently. Only consume alcohol sparingly, both in portion and number of drinks. 1 or 2 glasses of wine tops with the meal, in 3 oz servings. Save this for special occasions or for your treat in lieu of dessert. I drink water all day with the exception of my decaf coffee, which I sweeten with Stevia, which doesn’t cause the sugar spike. To make my coffee special, I am also known to put 2 TBSPS of Reddi-Whip topping on the top of it. It has no hydrogenated oils in it and is only 15 calories.
Find out what you are willing to compromise and look for the shortcuts. It isn’t difficult to save 200, 300 or maybe even 400 calories a day. If you can save 300 calories per day, in less than 2 weeks, you lose a pound just by merely cutting corners. This is how I dropped 50 pounds, slowly, but surely, step by step. Making good substitutions made it easy to stick to this over the long haul, and cutting corners liked this helped me reach my goal.