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7 sneaky ways to cut the calories needed to lose weight
Are you looking to lose weight, even if it's just a kilo or two? The good news is, you don't necessarily need to slash your portions drastically, or go all out at the gym.
You can still cut just enough calories needed to lose weight, without feeling deprived. So, forget the calorie counter, and try these sneaky ways to slim down your diet...
Use a bowl
As someone with a weakness for salt and vinegar chips, I won’t tell you that you can’t occasionally forgo low calorie foods and indulge your junk food craving instead. But to minimise the calorie damage, don’t just mindlessly demolish your snack straight from the bag or box. Instead, take five extra seconds to transfer a more modest serving to a small bowl. By exercising portion control, you’ll know exactly how much you're eating – and still have room left for dinner!
Popcorn and the movies are a lot like eggs and bacon: they go hand in hand. Unfortunately, a small movie theatre popcorn can contain 500 calories or more – almost a quarter of your recommended daily intake! The good news? You can still get your fix: simply bring a bag of light microwave popcorn from home. You’ll consume around half the calories, plus it’s a whole lot cheaper!
RELATED: The health benefits of LSA
Have a hearty breakfast
A proper breakfast is essential for boosting your metabolism, but this doesn’t mean you can’t still cut some calorie corners (while still meeting your daily calorie requirements). Instead of sugary granola or processed cereal, opt for a steaming bowl of oatmeal with a bit of Greek yoghurt (a great low calorie breakfast). For extra flavour without the side of guilt, add healthy toppings such as fresh berries or a bit of cinnamon.
Embrace al dente
Cooking your pasta right doesn’t just mean it’ll taste better – it’s also better for you. Why? Well, according to Johanna Burani, RD, the author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, "hot water breaks down the bonds between starch molecules” – meaning the longer you boil your pasta, the quicker your body converts those carbs into fuel. If you opt for the shortest cooking time (usually found on the back of the box), it’ll take longer to digest, keep you fuller for longer and ward off food cravings.
Chop your veggies chunky
It’s great to go for oven-baked over pan-fried veggies (we're all the about the plant-based diet), but if you’re dousing them with lots of oil, they’re still going to have a high calorie count. The more individual pieces you cut, the more surface area there is for the oil to stick to. The sneaky solution? Chop your veggies at least half an inch thick and coat them lightly using a spray oil instead of a bottle. How's that for a clever way to cut the calories needed to lose weight?
Indulge your food fantasy
If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself thinking about dinner before you’ve even finished your lunch. But don’t feel guilty – anticipating a meal can actually lower your appetite. A study conducted by German PhD, Dr Hallschmind found that thinking about a meal in advance helps to rein in ghrelin (the hunger hormone) levels, making you feel fuller sooner and consume less calories during the actual meal. *Resumes delicious dinner fantasy*
Turn the lights down
It may sound crazy, but a recent study from Cornell University says mood lighting could be the key to cutting calories. People who ate a meal under soft, warm lighting consumed nearly 200 fewer calories than those who feasted in brightly lit places – apparently, this could be because the bright lights were similar to the ones found in fast food restaurants, creating a psychological need to rush through meals and eat more.
Do you have any good tips or tricks for sticking to a healthy diet?