28 Ways to Cut Calories Effortlessly

Written by
Published in October 2007

( An extra 40 calories per day may not seem like much, but consider this: If you were to cut a mere 40 calories a day from your diet, you would lose at least a pound in three months, or four pounds in a year!

Making small changes to your diet every day to help reduce your calorie intake will help offset weight gain over the year, and possibly even help you to lose weight! Try some of the ideas below to help you reduce your calorie intake. The more tips you implement, the more calories you cut from your diet!

  1. Choose fruit instead of juice: A medium orange has 60 calories, while a cup of orange juice contains 110 calories. Go for the fruit instead! (Calories saved: 50)

  2. Downsize your bagel: A mini bagel has only 80 calories, while a regular medium-sized bagel contains 240 calories - and an average Einstein Brothers bagel is a whopping 350 calories! (Calories saved: 160 – 270)

  3. Wrap it up: Use a 110-calorie 10-inch tortilla instead of a 240-calorie medium bagel as the base for your breakfast or lunch. (Calories saved: 130)

  4. Wrap scale down: Use an 8-inch tortilla instead of a 10-inch one. (Calories saved: 50)

  5. Choose light cream cheese: One ounce (2 tablespoons) of light cream cheese contains 60 calories, while regular has 100 calories. (Calories saved: 40)

  6. Go Canadian: Have Canadian bacon at 90 calories for two slices instead of regular bacon at 250 calories for two slices. (Calories saved: 160)

  7. Add the real thing to your yogurt: One cup of fruit flavored low fat yogurt contains 230 calories. Instead, consider having one cup of low fat plain yogurt with 1/2 cup of fresh fruit for only 180 calories plus extra fiber! (Calories saved: 50)

  8. Make the mayo light: Lightening up your mayonnaise saves you 50 calories per tablespoon. (Calories saved: 50)

  9. Spray it: Spraying your non-stick pan with a cooking spray costs 6 calories while using a tablespoon of butter or margarine cuts into your daily calorie budget by 100 calories. (Calories saved: 94)

  10. Lighten up on butter and margarine: Regular butter or margarine contains 100 calories per tablespoon, but light butter or margarine has only 50. (Calories saved: 50)

  11. Season up: Using herbs to season your vegetables instead of butter or margarine will save you 100 calories per tablespoon. (Calories saved: 100)

  12. Creamy options: Trading the Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs super-rich (20% fat) ice cream for a Breyer's or Hood light reduced fat (6% fat) version saves 130 calories per 1/2 cup. (Calories saved: 130)

  13. Cone down: Choosing a small waffle cone rather than a large will save you 40 calories. Eliminating the cone altogether will save you 60 calories for a small one, 100 calories for a large. (Calories saved: 40 – 100)

  14. Choose fish in water: A 6oz can of chunk light tuna stored in oil has 275 calories. Packed in water, it has only 150 calories. (Calories saved: 125)

  15. Lower the fat in your cottage cheese: Use 1% cottage cheese rather than 4%. (Calories saved: 40 per half cup)

  16. Starching down: Try cutting back on your portion of rice, pasta or noodles by just 1/4 cup. (Calories saved: 45 – 60)

  17. Lightening your coffee: Use 2 tablespoons of whole milk rather than 2 Tbsp half and half cream. (Calories saved: 20)

  18. Make baking healthier: Replace half of the fat in a recipe with applesauce. Per 1/2 cup, applesauce contains 90 calories, but butter or margarine contains a whopping 810 calories! (Calories saved: 720 calories per 1/2 cup!)

  19. Soda shocker: By drinking an 8 oz mini can of regular soda rather than the usual 12 oz size, you save 50 calories. Better yet, drink water or diet soda to save 150 calories for a 12 oz can. (Calories saved: 50 – 150)

  20. The chips are down: Try a bag of baked chips instead of regular chips. (Calories saved: 70 per 2 oz bag)

  21. Go fresh: Choose a 60-calorie 1/2 cup of fresh fruit instead of a 250-calorie 1/2 cup of dried fruits like raisins. (Calories saved: 190)

  22. Vary your chocolate options: Instead of a 1.5 oz chocolate bar at 225 calories, consider having a cup of chocolate milk (160 calories) or a fat free chocolate pudding (85 calories). (Calories saved: 65 - 140)

  23. Ah nuts: Measure out your nuts - they add up quickly! One ounce of nuts (about 23 almonds, 18 medium cashews, 18-22 mixed nuts, 15-20 walnut or pecan halves) are worth 100 - 200 calories. It is easy to eat more than this if you are not paying attention and measuring... (Calories saved: Lots!)

  24. Cheers: Drink light beer rather than regular. (Calories saved: 30 per 12 oz can)

  25. Wine Not?: Drink 4 oz of wine instead of 12 oz of beer. (Calories saved: 50)

  26. Go lite on syrup: Two tablespoons of regular syrup contains 110 calories, but lite syrup contains only 50 calories. (Calories saved: 60)

  27. Cut the juice: Have 1/2 cup of orange juice instead of a full cup. (Calories saved: 55)

  28. Leaving behind: Why not leave 3-4 bites on your plate? You don't have to finish it all if you are full. (Calories saved: Varies)

The Bottom Line

Although you may not implement all of the above ideas, it is worthwhile trying to use at least one tip each day to help prevent a progressive, subtle weight gain over the years. By making simple alterations such as the ones mentioned above in your daily diet, you will not feel deprived while working to reduce your calorie intake.

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