Creative Weight-Loss Tricks

Seven simple ways to cut calories.

You know the rule: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. You’re on a mission to cut calories in order to reach your weight loss goals, but how many do you have to cut to see results? By eating 500 fewer calories or burning an extra 500 calories a day, you can expect to lose one pound a week. If 500 seems like too many, start with just 100. Overeating 100 calories a day can pack on 10 pounds in a year, but cutting out 100 calories each day can help you lose those 10 pounds in the same time period.

If you’re tired of the same old dieting advice to cut calories, here are seven creative ways to trim those extra calories and see the results you desire.

1. Eat Prunes

While you may think of prunes as food for babies or the elderly, they can be a highly effective weight-loss tool. Because of their high fiber reputation you may fear unpleasant side effects from eating dried plums, but put these fears aside. It’s the high fiber content (five grams in six prunes) that fills you up and keeps you feeling fuller for longer so you don’t eat as many calories. Try eating five to six ounces of prunes a day and watch the scale go down.

2. Pair Fiber with Protein

Fiber’s one thing, but add a source of protein and you’ve got yourself a powerful weight-loss combination. Because protein takes longer to digest, it provides lasting energy so you’re not craving a snack as soon as your meal’s over. Eggs, Greek yogurt, turkey breast, grilled chicken, low-fat cheese, and nuts are great sources of protein.

3. Use Your Other Hand

This may sound crazy, but give it a try. By using your non-dominant hand to hold your fork or spoon, you’ll slow down, make each bite count, and stay mindful of your hunger cues so you won’t be as susceptible to overeating.

4. Make a Few Substitutions

Still enjoy your favorite foods by implementing a few creative changes in the way they’re prepared. Find a few food substitutions you can live with without feeling deprived and make them a habit. Rather than using vegetable oil or butter when cooking, use cooking spray or olive oil when baking. If the recipe calls for oil, substitute it with applesauce. Use skim milk rather than two percent, have an English muffin for breakfast instead of a bagel, choose grilled options instead of fried, enjoying frozen yogurt rather than ice cream, and snack on popcorn instead of chips.

5. Reinvent the Sandwich

Sandwiches can make simple, yummy, and nutritious meals when done the right way. Cut calories and still enjoy sandwiches by eating them open-faced with just one slice of bread. Leave off the cheese and you’ll easily trim 60 to 100 calories. Slather Greek yogurt, hummus, mustard, or mashed avocado on your bread in place of mayonnaise and include plenty of lean protein and all the fresh veggies you want.

6. Use a Smaller Plate

Fool your mind into thinking you’re indulging by filling an 8- to 10-inch plate rather than your usual 12-inch dinner plate. After making this simply swap, you’ll be surprised at how many fewer calories you can eat while still feeling satisfied.

7. Eat at the Table

It’s a proven fact people overeat when they’re not paying attention. Sitting in front of the television is the prime location for mindless eating. Eat your meals while sitting at a table with all screens turned off and you’ll save yourself dozens, if not hundreds, of calories.