Tips to cut down your calories

When it comes to sorting out your nutrition, it’s easy to get bogged down with numbers – whether it’s calorie counting, watching your weight on the scales, adding up grams of fat or measuring your waistline. Changing your eating habits shouldn’t be a ridiculously difficult mission and forcing yourself to do diets that deprive you from eating the things you love can lead to feelings of guilt or anger at yourself if you go off track.

Food shouldn’t make you feel guilty and foods like icecream and chocolate aren’t ‘evil’! Take it easier on yourself by eating everything in moderation and making small gradual changes that will add up to a healthier lifestyle you can maintain in the long term.

Cooking tips to cut back the calories:

  • Cut the fat off any meat you’re cooking that isn’t already lean. This includes chicken skin.
  • When cooking with meats like mince, drain the fat off  by pushing it all to one side in the frying pan and tilting it. Put it in a small container, fridge it until it solidifies, then pop it in the trash – don’t pour down the sink or you’ll end up with a blocked drain!!
  • Use cooking oil spray or measure out a tablespoon of oil when cooking a meal to ensure you’re not overdoing it. Even better – use a non-stick cookware instead of oil.
  • Try to steam, bake, poach or grill rather than fry.
  • Cut back on foods that are sugary, salty and fatty. This will reduce the likelihood of bloating and water retention (not to mention these are usually the foods that promote weight gain!)
  • Use herbs and spices to flavour your food instead of sugar and salt-laden sauces.
  • Assess your plate before you dish up – half of it should be vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbohydrate. And that doesn’t mean pile it high!

Substitute foods for healthier options:

  • Think of any higher fat food products you enjoy eating and try to find alternatives that are lower in fat. e.g. If you crave the taste of chocolate but not actual chocolate, you could have a trim hot chocolate drink or a small pot of chocolate dairyfood instead. If you just want the chocolate, have four small pieces of dark chocolate instead of milk or white chocolate which are higher in fat.
  • If you don’t have preferences about a particular brand, use the ‘per 100g’ column to compare products when you’re at the supermarket. Look at the calories/kilojoules, fat content, sugar and sodium/salt, and put some thought into which option would be best for you.
  • Substitute fruit juice for a piece of fruit (but go easy on it as fruits are still quite high in natural sugar!). That way you’ll get more fibre which is great for digestion health and means you’re more likely to feel full afterwards.
  • Skip the takeaways and home cook as much as possible. This way, you know exactly what’s going into your mouth and you’ll save a bunch of money in the long run!
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. This will keep the shopping bill down and also ensure you get good variety in your diet.

Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Naito8

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