Meal Hacks to Reduce Calories and Lose Weight
Often it is the smallest changes to a diet that make all the difference when trying to lose weight. Below are twelve different meal backs to help you reduce calories, lose weight, and not starve.
Lower Calorie Foods
A simple yet effective way to lose weight and reduce calories is to pay more attention to how many calories are in your food. Choosing fresh veggies over processed foods is one of the most efficient ways to see drastic results. Since snacking is an important part of maintaining a high metabolism, knowing how to snack smart with low-calorie snacks is can help you lose so much more body fat.
Vegetables and certain fruits are naturally low in calories and in fat but high in fiber. Fresh vegetables also contain a higher amount of water, which assists in daily water intake. They are also high in fiber, which is essential for weight loss, and aids in making you feel full. Take a big natural salad for example:
2 C of lettuce, 18 calories
1 M Tomato, 25 calories
1 L Carrot, 35 calories
2 L Celery Stalks, 13 calories
1 Cucumber, 20 calories
Put that all together, and it’s a total of 111 calories and over 10 grams of fiber to add to your diet making this both filling and fulfilling. Make sure to watch what kind, and how much dressing is added to the salad. Often, popular commercial dressings add unnecessary calories. One tablespoon of Kraft Salad Dressing has nearly 35 calories and 4 grams of fat, and often people use up to half a cup on a single salad amounting to over 300 calories. Opt instead for a 43-calorie Vinaigrette Dressing instead.
Snacking on Low-Calorie Foods
Experts suggest rather than eating three large meals a day, to help maintain a high metabolism, it is better to eat 6 to 8 small meals a day with 3 main meals and 3 to 4 snacks in between. Snacks can be deceptively high in calories. Look for recipes that feature low-calorie snacks instead. A few examples are:
Apples: One medium-sized apple = 95 calories
Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese Sticks: 2 cheese sticks = 120 calories
Chocolate fat-free pudding: 100 grams = 93 calories
Detour chocolate protein bar: 1 bar = 150 calories
Sugar-free jello: 1 cup = 10 calories
Frozen Grapes: 1 cup = 110 calories
Chocolate milk ( low Fat): 1 cup = 158 calories
Foods that Fill You Up
Experts note that one of the top causes of those who give up on a diet is because of hunger. Changing dieting habits and incorporating more exercise naturally causes more hunger. To beat the hunger cravings, search for those foods, which fill you up. Below are two lists of Low-Calorie Filling Foods and Low-Calorie Filling Snacks.
100% whole grains should be an immediate addition to any diet. Brown rice or oatmeal contains a substantial amount of healthy fiber. Often, those high sugar before diet foods cause imbalances in blood sugar levels. When changing a diet, if not balanced, these imbalances translate to the brain as hunger. Healthy grains and rice balance blood sugar levels and help the body feel full for longer. If you are daring, switch the brown rice to black to add antioxidants and decrease both carbs and calories.
Although all fresh veggies are important to your diet, certain green veggies pack a powerful punch against hunger and even take more calories to burn than you consume eating them. For instance, a serving of broccoli (1 cup) is just 25 calories while it takes nearly 80 calories for the body to digest. Other green super veggies that fill you up and burn calories include asparagus, celery, zucchini, or cauliflower.
Certain fruits can not only help make you feel full but also curve sweet cravings and aid in daily water intake. At the top of the list is Watermelon. Two cups of watermelon contain only 100 calories and are up to 92% water. Plus, each bite contains vitamins A, B, C, amino acids, antioxidants, and a day’s worth of your daily vitamin C intake. Bananas and pineapple contain more fat and sugar than watermelon but also help you feel full and are still low in calories.
Low-Calorie Filling Snacks
Nearly all the snacks mentioned previously make the list of low-calorie snacks that are also filling. A few more to add to the menu would be those made with grains, healthy milk, and beans. Beans and legumes are not only high in fiber and filling, they are also high in protein.
Caution should be taken when increasing the amount of protein in a diet. While high protein diets do work to lose weight quickly, they are often unsustainable and the dieters quickly gain the weight plus more back when they return to other eating habits. Instead, healthy proteins should be infused with each meal/snack of the day.
High Protein Veggies
As Popeye would state, spinach should be a part of everyone’s meals to be strong and healthy. Not only does spinach make the list of healthy greens, it is also extremely high in fiber for a vegetable. One cup of cooked spinach contains 5 grams of protein. Also on the list are artichokes and peas.
High Protein Meats
Being choosy about your meats can have a drastic impact on your weight loss. While it may seem like any meat is high in protein, other components such as sodium and fat can counter the good effects of a meat’s protein and defeat the purpose. High protein meats such as Grass-Fed Beef, Tuna, Salmon, some Pork, Turkey, and Eggs are some of the top choices.
Low Carb Beverages
Unfortunately, that Grande Star Bucks latte is nearly 190 calories if you get skim milk and don’t add sugar. One of the most undetected pitfalls of dieting is a high carb beverage. Low-carb drinks can keep unnecessary carbs from sneaking their way into your daily intake. Some of these drinks include unsweetened iced tea, black coffee, and of course, water. Vegetable juice and fruit juices that are completely natural must be limited. And, if you need a drink, wine or whiskey are the drinks of choice with wine having minimal calories and whiskey having none.
Drink More Water
Water is one of the number one culprits for a bad mood, lack of motivation, poor bowel movements and dehydration that can impact workouts and exercise. Some easy hacks for including more water in your day include diluting juices or sugary drinks, and making sure to drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water daily or about two liters.
Using Supplements and Powders
Supplements can be a helpful way to achieve your diet goals, any supplements should be taken with care as should you consult a health physician before taking them. Natural supplements are often more highly recommended.
Supplements to Watch Out For
Especially for those that are just beginning to diet, be aware that any muscle building supplements or powders usually cause weight gain and some water retention. These should be taken with extreme care and caution and under the supervision of a health professional and/or personal trainer.