My friend wants to lose weight, so we were discussing weight loss the other day. She loves to cook and has a very healthy diet. My friend believes it’s all about portion control.
Hang on! Here’s a trick you can use that goes way beyond portion control!
She’s right that reducing portion sizes can spur initial weight loss for many people. Or, at the very least stop the weight gain! However, after 20 plus years of helping people lose weight, I’ve learned that there’s more to it than portion control. For long term weight loss and management, you want to pay attention to portion sizes AND the calories in your food choices!
When you hear low calorie, you often think you have to give up on flavor or the foods that you really enjoy. Unless you frequent fast food chains on a daily basis, that is simply not true. The trick to losing weight without feeling deprived is substituting low-cal recipes for the original recipe.
Here are six yummy recipes you can convert to be lower in calories:
1) Buffalo Wings — 52 calories each. You have to eat a lot of wings to get full (maybe 10, so that would be 520 calories)! Buffalo Chicken Thighs from Cooking Light Magazine — 318 calories per two thighs.
2) Traditional recipe of Sesame Beef Stir-fry — 563 calories per serving. That doesn’t include the rice! Sesame Beef Stir-fry from Cooking Light Magazine — 230 calories per serving.
3) One plate at an Indian Buffet — 900 calories. Indian Spiced Chicken and Rice from Fitness Magazine — 376 calories per serving.
4) Homemade Macaroni & Cheese is a whopping 858 calories per serving! For some that’s half of their daily calories! Creamy Light Macaroni Cheese from Cooking Light Magazine — 390 calories per serving.
5) Traditional Pork Tacos — 419 calories per two tacos. Chipotle Pork Tacos from Cooking Light magazine — 299 calories per two tacos.
6) One battered large piece of cod — 556 calories. Never mind the fries! Crisp Crusted Fish Fillets via cooking light magazine — 291 calories per Serving. [minor changes to this section for consistency in formatting]
In most of these examples the caloric difference is major! Over time these extra calories add up for either weight loss or weight gain!
Wouldn’t you like a little dessert and still maintain your weight?
Maybe you are happy with your weight and just want to maintain. If that’s you, congratulations! Choosing the lower calorie meal allows you extras like dessert or a glass of wine without gaining a pound. If weight loss is your goal, the lower calorie meals will allow you wiggle room to splurge a little without sabotaging your efforts!
If you eat out often, try making the low cal version of your favorite dishes and bring the leftovers for lunch. By replacing traditional restaurant dishes with the lighter versions you are cutting down on the calories. Plus you will save time and money!
When eating out becomes less of the norm and more of a treat you are more likely to lose weight.
Can’t avoid eating out often? Here are some tips:
- Subscribe to a free calorie tracker like loseit and learn how many calories are in the typical restaurant meals you eat.
- Look for the lower calorie meals on the menu and order them!
- Choose fruit for snacks.
- Substitute high calorie drinks with lighter fare (a glass of wine has less calories than a traditional margarita).
- Save splurging for the weekly dinner with your spouse, friends, family, etc.
For more tips on how to eat out and still lose weight, go to my most recent article on this subject. Here’s the link.
It is totally possible to lose weight without feeling deprived or hungry! Moderation in the Webster’s Dictionary is defined as “to lessen the intensity of.” Choosing lower calorie versions of your favorite meals and correct portion sizes fits this definition!
What secrets can you share that have helped you lower your daily calories? Is there anything specifically you would like to ask me? I love to hear from you! Please comment below!