Last week we shared 5 simple strategies to shave 100+ calories to make it easy to reverse the upward trend on your scale. None of these strategies alone will cut your calories drastically, but each one is painless and when you stack a few on top of each other you can reap some serious calorie savings.
There are lots of ways to cut calories, and any calorie deficit will lead to weight loss. The key is keeping the weight off, and that is the result of a sustainable calorie deficit and preserving your metabolism (muscle mass) with strength training. Using a handful or two of minor cuts to add up to big cuts that can pay huge dividends because they’re all pretty reasonable.
Here’s the final installment:
- Catch up using catsup: who actually uses the “catsup” spelling of ketchup? Regardless, most people don’t know that ketchup is actually a pretty high calorie condiment. 1 tbsp has 20 calories, and the average American uses 5-8 tablespoons at a time (or 100-160 calories worth!). The good news is that there is this stuff called sugar-free ketchup that has only 5 calories per tablespoon and tastes identical. Making this swap will save you 80-120 calories per day, which is theoretically 1/5 pound per week.
- Power powder: I LOVE peanut butter in my protein shakes and smoothies. However, when I found out that the protein shake I was getting near campus had well over 800 calories in it, I was heartbroken. Fast forward a few decades and a there’s a dozen brands of powdered peanut butter, which is basically what’s left over after they make peanut oil. It mixes much easier, has more flavor + fiber + protein, and less than half the calories. Regular peanut butter has 190 calories per 2 tbsp serving, whereas powdered has only 70. If you use 2 tbsp daily this will save you 120 calories, which is theoretically ¼ pound per week.
- 10% is really 200%: the way that % fat is listed on food labels is very confusing, and some would say it’s intentionally misleading. Let’s take ground beef for example. When you are looking at a pack that’s 85% lean and 95% lean, it looks like the 85% lean only has 10% more fat. However, the 85% actually has three time more fat because they’re talking about the % of weight of the product not % of calories (you’re really looking at 5% fat vs. 15% fat by weight). In each 4oz serving the 85% has 243 calories and 21 grams of protein, whereas the 95% has just 155 calories and 24 grams of protein. 100 calories saved per day is theoretically 1/5 of a pound per week.
- High fiber, low cal: There is a ton of variability in the calories in bread. On average, most pre-sliced bread is going to be 90-120 calories per slice. However, with something like Natures Own Lite bread each slice only has 40 calories. If you replace the bread on your daily sandwich that will cut 130 calories per day, which is about ¼ pound per week.
- Skipping. Eating less often usually makes it easier to eat fewer calorie overall. For instance, let’s say you’re a woman who needs to eat 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. If you are eating 5 small meals per day each one will need to be about 300 calories. If you cut back to 3 meals per day you can eat about 2/3rd more food per meal, which is usually much more satisfying. Additionally, most people tend to be off by 10-20% with their calories when they are paying attention, so that’s 2 fewer opportunities per day to underestimate your intake. Lastly, the fewer times per day you eat the less time you have to spend prepping food, and the easier it is to avoid boredom. Here’s more on fasting.