Cutting your calorie intake not only means losing the extra pounds but also lowering your risk of disease, stabilizing your blood sugar, improving your heart health and lots more.
Though it sounds realistic, many people struggle a lot when it comes to cutting back their calorie intake. This makes the goal of weight loss a very difficult task. Always bear in mind that weight loss occurs when your calorie intake is less than or equal to the amount you are able to burn with physical activities.
Instead of wasting your money on calorie-cutting products, there are many simple and effective hacks that you can incorporate into your daily routine to limit your calories.
These simple hacks can make a big difference when it comes to sticking to your diet or weight loss plan.
Here are 10 simple and effective eating hacks to keep the calories in check.
1. Fool Yourself with Smaller Plates
Just changing your dinnerware to smaller sizes can make you eat less, thereby helping you lose weight.
Portions look larger on smaller plates, and beverages seem bigger in taller, thinner glasses. Along with the size, the color of your plate also matters. Choose plates in a color that contrasts with the foods you normally eat.
A 2005 study published in Obesity Research reports that the amount of food on a plate or bowl has a direct connection to your consumption level. This study sheds light on the fact that people use their eyes to count calories, not their stomach.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology reports that plate-size induced visual consumption norms offer win-win solutions for reducing food intake and waste.
Thus, using a smaller plate and thinner glass can play an important role in preventing unintentional overeating and high calorie intake.
2. Drink Lots of Water
To reduce your calorie intake as well as hunger, start drinking a large glass of water before meals. Water is one of the healthiest drinks in the world and is totally calorie-free.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that there is positive effect of water on energy expenditure and fuel utilization. In fact, the importance of water intake should be recognized as a powerful confounding factor in metabolic studies.
Further, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics reports that people who increased their consumption of plain water by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.
If you find water boring, you can try flavored water to trick yourself into drinking more every day.
3. Count the Number of Desserts You Eat
Many of us have a sweet tooth and end up eating more desserts than we should. This ends up drastically increasing our calorie intake.
In a 2015 report, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee cited sugar as one of the biggest health concerns and reported that sugar makes up 10 percent or fewer of our daily calorie intakes.
Also, the American Heart Association recommends that no more than half of your daily discretionary calories should come from added sugars (about 100 calories or 6 teaspoons for women and 150 calories or 9 teaspoons for men). But in reality, Americans eat far more than that, with an average of between 13 and 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day.
The sugar in desserts raises the risk of many serious diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
So, regardless of how much you are craving something sweet, try and limit the number of sweets you eat. Having a sweet treat only once a week can make a huge difference in your health status and weight loss efforts.
4. Eat Eggs for Breakfast
Eating eggs for breakfast is something everyone should follow, especially those who are counting their calories.
In fact, starting the day with a high-quality protein breakfast like eggs is a great way to promote long-lasting fullness and reduced calorie consumption.
With just 70 calories, eggs are a great source of high-quality protein as well as vitamin D and fat. Eating eggs helps sustain your energy level and keeps you satisfied until lunchtime.
A 2010 study published in Nutrition Research reports that eating eggs for breakfast helps reduce hunger and calorie consumption throughout the day by 18 percent.
You can eat 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs or make an omelet with lots of vegetables and some cheese. If you have time, you can even make some French toast with whole-grain bread.
5. Carry Your Water and Snacks
Unhealthy snacks and soft drinks are high in calories that you must avoid to keep yourself in shape.
However, when you are out spending time with friends and family, the tendency may be high to eat unhealthy foods and drinks. You can easily pick up a burger or a bottle of cola, and it’s common practice, too.
To prevent yourself from munching on unhealthy snacks or drinking aerated beverages, start carrying a big water bottle and some healthy snacks with you everywhere you go.
Carrying along your own drink and snacks works as a reminder that you are on a mission and nothing will break your motivation to reach your goal.
Carry a bottle of lemon water or other flavored water occasionally for a change from plain water. As far as snacks are concerned, whole apples, oranges, homemade juices and roasted nuts offer the right nutrients to keep you full as well as healthy.
6. Switch to Green Tea
Drinking green tea rather than your regular coffee is another effective hack to keep control of your calorie intake.
The catechins in green tea are particularly good for increasing your body’s fat-burning capacity. They help generate heat within the body, which in turn burns extra calories.
According to a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea is effective at promoting weight loss due to its high levels of catechins. Daily consumption of green tea containing 690 mg of catechins for 12 weeks reduced body fat to a great extent.
Another 2014 study conducted at Penn State showed that catechins in green tea help slow down weight gain by limiting fat absorption and increasing the body’s ability to use fat.
Replace your daily cup of regular tea or coffee with a cup of organic green tea. Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day.
7. Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting helps reduce body fat and, at the same time, it increases strength.
This type of fasting is about eating all that your body needs, while allowing a brief rest from constant feeding.
A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Obesity reports that intermittent fasting or alternate day fasting may be an option for achieving weight loss and maintenance.
There are different intermittent fasting methods. The most popular are:
- The 16/8 Method: Skip breakfast every day and eat normally from 12 noon to 8 p.m. This gives your body 16 hours without food intake in a day.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Do a 24-hour fast once or twice each week. This means you will not be eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 Diet: Eat only 500 to 600 calories on 2 days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
Note: Any type of fasting is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or diabetes. Also, it may not be suitable for people on certain medications.
8. Be More Mindful When You Eat
Mindfulness is a powerful practice to help control mindless eating. This is why experts recommend paying more attention to your food while you are eating.
Keep your focus on what you are eating and do not allow yourself to get distracted by your phone or television. This way you can also enjoy the flavor of your food more.
Eat more slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Doing so will extend the time it takes to finish a meal. This can help control your portion sizes, which naturally decreases calorie consumption.
Also, put your fork or spoon down between bites. Remember that your brain needs 20 minutes to give your stomach the signal that it’s full. So when you eat slowly, you will feel full even though you likely have eaten less than you normally do.
9. Stock Pile Healthy Snacks at Home
When you are relaxing at home, you tend to eat more. It’s hard to resist temptation when your kitchen and all the tasty delights are just steps away. So, why not make your home a place where you only eat healthy?
Keep your cabinets and refrigerator stocked with fresh, healthy snacks like fruits, crunchy vegetables, plain yogurt and smoothies.
You can even place your favorite fruit in glass or other nice bowls on the counter or refrigerator shelf. This beautiful display will work as a reminder to eat them!
Near your study table or in your entertainment room, you can keep roasted nuts in small containers.
Along with ready-to-eat snacks, you can make your own healthy snacks and meals to help you control your calories and lose weight faster.
10. Don’t Go Grocery Shopping on an Empty Stomach
When you are hungry and start looking at all the products displayed in a grocery store, your best of intentions to fill the grocery cart with lots of produce and healthy protein often gets overtaken by your cravings for items that you really shouldn’t buy. This is why you end up filling your grocery cart with unhealthy and high-calorie foods and ready-to-eat snacks.
A 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that even short-term food deprivation can lead to a shift in choices such that people choose less low-calorie and relatively more high-calorie food options.
As shopping for groceries on an empty stomach has a direct influence on your food choices, always eat something healthy at home before you go shopping.
- If you drink alcohol, choose the best alcoholic beverages in terms of calories. Even then, avoid drinking in excess.
- When eating out, always ask for sauces and dressings on the side, so that you can control how much gravy or dressing you consume.
- Try cutting out extras or side items, such as potato chips that come with a burger. This way you can reduce some calorie intake at each meal.
- Foods high in fiber will help you feel fuller longer and help reduce sugar cravings. So, don’t forget to include fiber-rich foods in your diet to reduce your overall calorie intake.
- Avoid binging on fast foods.
- Choose healthy fats like those found in avocados and nuts to stay healthy. However, don’t go overboard because they are high in calories.
- Bring your own dish of healthy food when going to a family dinner at a relative’s home. This way you don’t have to turn down everything that’s offered and you have a healthy dish to offer to others, too.
- Do a short cleanse or detox once every two weeks. It is one of the best ways to lose weight fast.
- Include coconut oil in your cooking. It contains medium-chain fatty acids that your body can easily burn as fuel for energy.
- Let go of the breads from your diet, as consuming them is one of the fastest ways to pack on the pounds.
- When it comes to eating grains, eat only sprouted grains or quinoa.
- Prepare a menu in advance for the whole week and stick to your plan.
- Give the menu a full look before you decide, so that you can make wise choices.
- Increase your protein intake, as it is another great way to lose weight and burn fat.
- Put a mirror on your fridge because it forces you to pause before making food choices.
- Make time for quality sleep. It encourages the production of hormones that help regulate your appetite. Plus, it boosts fat loss while helping you overcome your late-night snacking problem.