Aw….one of my favorite topics: calorie wasters! Don’t you just love Condescending Wonka?
When I was trying to lose my weight, it became entirely about a math game to me. What could I eat for breakfast, snack, lunch, etc and still come in under my calorie target? I learned pretty quickly how to eliminate things from diet that were wasting my calories. Thus began the era of “weird processed foods that were low in calories” (i.e. that zero calorie spray-on butter). While I try to steer clear of those processed foods nowadays, I am still paying attention to things that waste my calories.
#1: Wasting calories on add-ons you won’t really miss.
Calories saved: 70 calories-100
Dip, don’t dress, your salad. Sauce on side! You may think a salad is your safest option in a restaurant. That is not always the case. The humongous salads that are drowned in dressings (or adorned in cheese, bacon bits and croutons) can pack a wallop of calories. Order your salad without dressing and then use the dressing as a dip. You’ll end up using far less than if you pour it on, and you’ll still enjoy the flavor with each bite. My friend Robyn has always done this and I was always fascinated by how she ate her salads but really, it was pretty smart.
A full-flavored dressing like blue cheese packs 140 calories into 2 tablespoons–try the dipping method and you’ll probably need a tablespoon or less, saving 70 calories. Not only that, creamy blue cheese is a pretty strong flavor, less is more. Or stick to vinaigrette.
#2: Ditch the top slice of bread.
Calories saved: 100-200
Another place you can use this trick is to ditch the top slice of bread and eat your sandwich open-faced–erasing 100 calories. Or try a wrap (usually half the calories of a big sandwich) or even better: lettuce wraps. My other favorite: pita bread.
Also, skip the bread basket at the restaurant.
#3: Eat half of everything.
Calories saved: 100-too high to count!
This tip goes for a lot of things. I like sharing my entree with my boyfriend or a friend, or eating half of my entree and taking the rest home for leftovers. There are other ways to do this to save some calories.
Take avocados, for example. They are delicious and healthy but really high in calories. I sometimes top my scrambled eggs with avocado slices but only use half and save the rest for the next day. That saves me about 125 calories!
#4: Don’t drink your calories.
I am totally a broken record on this topic, but it’s true. Add up your liquid calories for one day and you’ll be shocked.
#5: Portions, portions, portions!
Check out this website I found that shows what a 100 calorie serving of chips and dips looks like. Here is one picture to give you an idea:
Are you blown away by the above picture?? It’s shockingly inadequate and a very good reminder to pay attention to my portions when eating stuff like this. It’s so easy to eat, eat, eat and think you’re okay with the portions when in reality I just ate three portions!
QUESTION: What are your tips for avoiding the “extra” calories?