Monday, August 23, 2010

Cheap help you slash calories and beat the bulge

Now that you know what calories are...I will show you a few easy ways to slash them! Anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of radical diets but realistically speaking, we still live in a world where most of us are gaining weight year over year. So what is the answer? Looking for little ways to cut the fat (pun intended) out of your life, for good! No fuss, no starving yourself only to dive into a whole pint of Haagen Dazs 12 days later. I speak from experience...

By cutting out what doesn't really matter you can still enjoy the things that bring you culinary and sensory joy - be it garden fresh corn smothered in butter, homemade pecan chocolate cookies or grand dinners out - no calorie counting necessary. Here are 4 "cheap tricks" to help slim out your routine!

Swap your starch: we snack constantly on processed carbohydrate foods which are super easy to overeat and don't really fill you up (or provide real nourishment!). So switch your snacks to fruits and veggies: try carrots dipped in hummus, apples and cheddar, pear dipped in almond butter or just pure, unadulterated fruits and veggies instead of granola bars, crackers and pastries. Feel fuller, longer and nourish your body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants instead of empty calories.

Example of your calorie savings: 12 baby carrots instead of 12 Ritz crackers: 156 calories

Make over your yogurt: Most yogurts on the shelves are little more than a bunch of food byproducts covered up with food cosmetics to make them sickly sweet. Real yogurt is a health food, "yogurts" made from modified milk ingredients, stabilizers and artificial flavours and sweeteners are not. And varieties made with sugar can have a massive calorie count, even non fat versions! So switch to plain, non fat yogurt made with only milk and live active cultures....I love Greek yogurt for its extra protein (thanks to its lower water content) and beautiful creamy texture. Taste buds not ready for plain? Sweeten on your own with a bit of honey or better yet, real fruit!

Example of your calorie savings: 3/4 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh or thawed blueberries versus 3/4 cup of a typical fat free sweetened berry flavoured yogurt: 100 calories

Liquid Assets: Want to trim your waist in a major way? Stop drinking your calories! Not only do liquid calories not fill you up (except for milk, which actually turns semi solid in your stomach), your body actually doesn't recognize the calories from drinks meaning you will not compensate by eating less later on. So as hard as it might be for all you sweet tooth gulpers out there...go for calorie free drinks like water, seltzer, plain tea and coffee and you will slash your daily calorie intake without changing anything about your diet.

Example of your calorie savings: Large unsweetened iced tea instead of a large blended coffee beverage: 230 calories

Measure up: There is an old saying that goes something like this: "My eyes were larger than my stomach." However, what I have noticed is that eventually, the stomach catches up with the eyes! Larger portion sizes just prime us to eat more as our stomachs (and our behinds) expand. A great way to get your back down to earth is to actually measure what you eat. For example, most of us just pour out oil into a pan for cooking, but why not just measure a tablespoon (for a family's meal) or a teaspoon (for a smaller recipe)? And when you are serving yourself pasta or rice, why not just measure out a cup full? Using measuring spoons and cups just helps you be more aware or servings so that you can start to eyeball what is actually on your plate.

Here are some sample measurements and the caloric heft:

1 tbsp of oil: about 100 calories
1 cup of cooked pasta or rice: about 200 calories
1/3 cup of raw nuts: 275 calories
1 oz of cheese (the size of 3 dice): 115 calories
3-4 oz of meat (the size of a deck of cards): 165 calories

What are your favourite tricks to help keep your weight in check without taking over your routine? Let us know!

In good health,

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