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When you can, go for the low calorie alternatives.
When you’re trying to make a lifestyle change in terms of how you eat, one of the hardest things is getting the amount of calories that you consume under control. There are so many items that have way more calories in them than you would think. Cutting your calories will require you to really start understanding the value of calories in your food.
There are so many things that have an insane amount of calories in them. For example, a can of soda has a calorie count between 150 and 180 in it. If you go with a diet soda, you cut that number down to zero. 180 calories will allow you to eat 5 cups of popped (unbuttered) popcorn, or 4 baked chicken wings. Going with low calorie alternatives will go a long way in helping you to lose or maintain the weight you want.
Finding low calorie alternatives can often be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. Below are a few tips in terms of the best items to try to cut your calories down on.
Dressings and condiments
Salad dressing, barbecue sauce, and syrups all have tons of calories in tiny amounts. Generally, condiments have calorie counts related to 2 tablespoons of the food. For example, there are 129 calories in 2 tablespoons of ranch dressing. That’s probably alright if you go for only 2 tablespoons, but all too often you’ll double that on a salad. That’s a lot of calories in your salad from the dressing.
A better alternative is to go with something like Walden Farms dressings and syrups. While these items are a bit more expensive, they also generally have no calories in them either. This means that you can add 4 tablespoons of the dressing if you’d like. They also have syrups and other products as well. Before you go out and buy tons and tons of these products, you should definitely try them first. Anything with minimal or no calories will always taste different - you want to make sure you can enjoy them.
Bread and tortillas are generally loaded with a decent amount of calories. While they’re nowhere near as bad as condiments, they can still add up quickly. Most slices of bread have at least 80 calories per slice and some have many more. That means that a sandwich is 160 calories just in bread. Tortillas are the real surprise though - most tortillas are 120 calories and go up the bigger you get.
There are some really tasty lower calorie alternatives for these items, fortunately. We really like the Ole Extreme Wellness tortillas that are only 50 calories each and loaded with fiber. There are breads that go down to 40 calories per slice as well - they taste a little different, but when you can eat two slices of bread for the cost of one it’s generally worth it.
Chips and snacks
Chips are absolutely delicious. They are also loaded with calories unless you can stop after just a single serving - good luck. Take about 10 chips in your hand and you’ve got about 100 calories in your hand. That means that every handful you eat, you’re putting in about 100 calories. The same can go for most other crackers and other similar snacks - they’re really good but that’s because they are so loaded with calories.
One of the best ways to replace chips and similar crunchy snacks in your diet is with plain popcorn. If you have an air-popper, then you’re going to have 30 calories per cup of popped popcorn. Plain popcorn can be hard to eat if you’re used to chips, so a great idea is to add popcorn toppings. To help get it to stick, you can spray the popcorn with a little bit of cooking spray, or else just some water from a water bottle.
Finding low calorie alternatives takes some work, but you may find that you’ll actually be able to eat more food while still maintaining your weight. If you can handle the taste, then it’s definitely worth it.