There are some easy changes to make to your diet to drop a pound by next month. Calories can be very sneaky and if you are fully aware of the amount you are taking in and where they are coming from then you can make some changes to take them out.
Start with the way you cook. I am Italian so I understand how it is routine to drizzle olive oil in the pan before you cook. There is 120 calories in one tablespoon of evoo. Now, I know I probably use 3 tbsp depending on the size of the pan. That’s 360 extra calories I just added to whatever I am cooking! There are a couple options to decrease calories while not burning what your cooking because it is stuck to the bottom of the pan. There is a spray that you can pour your oil into so that you are still using evoo, but a lot less. I think Bed and Bath carries it. Next, if you are not so stuck on olive oil, buy Pam. Its cheaper than olive oil and a spray can will last a while. The third option is to put a little low sodium chicken/beef stock in the bottom of the pan. I am going to start using Pam but feel free to choose whichever option works for you. It takes 3500 calories to create a pound, so if I was using about 3 tbsp a day total of olive oil and I switch to 0 caorie Pam I will lose about 2 pounds in a month!
Next, what are you drinking? I only drink water and the occasional Zero Powerade (which is high in sodium fyi) so I can’t skim any calories off my diet with this one but maybe you can. A friend asked me last week about Vitamin Water and he said there was only 30 calories in the one he was drinking and he had 2 a day. He thought he was doing good by his body by drinking water and vitamins. I went to the store and looked at the container and there were 2.5 servings per bottle. His two bottles that he thought were 60 calories ended up being 150 calories and mostly from added sugar. That may not seem like a lot but that’s about 100 calories a day extra which adds up to ten pounds in a year gain. He switched to water and now adds sliced fruit to get that taste along with a gel multivitamin. Just off that switch he should lose 10lbs this year.
Lets talk about coffee. We all love it and not only does it satisfy our sweet tooth but it gives us a little buzz too. Most people get a regular coffee which is 3 sugars and 3 creamers that equals 120 calories. If you get your coffee at the drive through put a little box of fat free creamer powder and some stevia or splenda packets in your glove compartment and add them real quick. That will save you about 100 calories. If you make your coffee at home or in the office then shame on you! It is just as easy to add a sugar free syrup for flavor and a splash of (gasp) light cream. This will still save you about 80-90 calories. Remember too, this is per cup, so if you have 3 medium coffees a day or 2 larges that equals 360 calories not 120!
I love to cook and bake so I am used to substituting. When baking, change oil for applesauce. I swear you will not taste the difference. In puddings and mousse use sugar free Jello and Cool Whip Free. Splenda now makes a brown sugar which is great in everything from cookies to sprinkled on baked grapefruit. If you have never tried ‘No Pudge Brownies’ go to the store…now! I am serious, you just add yogurt to these and they come out fudgy and chocolaty! Just watch the portion size. I use Dannon Light vanilla cherry yogurt instead of plain vanilla.
On the cooking end, we already talked about cooking with oil but what about lower fat foods? If you eat a lot of chicken go for the lean breast instead of the thigh. Always cut off the fat before you cook it or your chicken will be cooking in its own fat. When grilling meat get Bison, Flank, or lean Sirloin tips. As for fish go with a white if you are looking to lower the fat.
One of my fave trick foods is fat free Friendship cottage cheese whipped. Few grocery stores carry it anymore so you might have to go to an alternate one if yours doesn’t have it. I mix that stuff in my hummus to increase the volume without adding a lot of calories. I mix it in with low fat sour cream to put on anything from nachos to baked potatoes. I also mix it with cool whip fat free on top of my muffin tops (see recipe). There is so many things you can add it to and it will add a little protein and few calories.
Make some changes this week when you are cooking or baking. Use some of the lower fat foods I mentioned and beware of portion sizes. Just because it is low fat and healthy does not give you the green light to eat all 4 portions. The more substitutions you make the quicker you will see the scale drop!