What is the toughest part of being on a diet? Resisting cravings. And, we often ignore cravings and dismiss them as just something our brain tells us we need. But, it’s important to remember that choosing to feed our body lesser food than usual can drive us into survival mode and make us feel like we’re starving.
The trick to losing fat might lie in cutting down on food. But there are ways to do this without lusting after a cupcake every hour. Here are a few low-calorie and healthy substitutes to high calorie foods.
1. Reduced Fat Milk
Milk from cows contains close to 4% fat, and is known as full-fat milk. The fat range of reduced fat milk falls between 2% to 0.2% depending on the amount of fat that has been removed.
Even with the fat removed, this form of milk still retains all important nutrients that milk is known for and is just as good as regular milk. It will help you cut calories in no time, especially if you love your glass of milk every day. A glass of reduced fat milk has 122 calories as opposed to its full fat alternative which has 149 calories.1 2 If your diet consists of a lot of dairy products like yogurt and cheese, opt for reduced fat versions of these as well.3
2. Fresh Juices
When you juice fruits and vegetables yourself, you know what you’re adding to it. Canned juices contain exorbitant amounts of sugar- you just may not see it as is on the ingredient list. The same goes for canned fruit.4
Choose to drink juices that have been freshly made by you or in front of you. This way, you can get all of the fiber, nutrients and goodness and none of the added sugar. Better yet, consider eating a whole fruit instead of juicing it.5
3. Healthy Salad Dressing
Every time you stay away from the mayonnaise and thousand island dressing, you are saving a ton of calories. Instead, opt for a simple vinaigrette that has very little olive oil in it.6
You could also make your own salad dressing. Go with lime and chili for prawns, a balsamic vinaigrette for an Italian pasta salad, or a raspberry vinaigrette to go with a fruit salad.7
4. Whole Grains
Grains which still have their bran have more fiber and micro nutrients than their refined counterparts. They also fill you up faster and take longer to digest, thus keeping you full for longer.
Whole grains also maintain a steady blood glucose level, helping you crave foods less often. Oats, bale, brown rice, and popped corn are all examples of whole grains and whole grain based foods.8
5. Healthy Snacking
Which one of us can resist snacking? Even if we’ve had our three square meals for the day, we can’t help but think of a snack. And, since snacking is so inevitable, how about we spin it to our advantage?
Throw out the big bag of chips and opt for a healthy snack such as seeds, nuts, and yogurt instead. If you really want the chips, you can bake them at home with very little salt and oil. Keep the junk food out of sight- don’t buy it, don’t stock it, and definitely don’t put it in your refrigerator.9
6. Natural Sweeteners
Both sugar and artificial sweeteners add empty calories to our bodies and make us crave sugary foods. While sugar really does nothing good for our waistline, artificial sweeteners too cause us to crave more food. This is because these sweeteners add “sweetness” to food but don’t add the calories our brain associates with them.
Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia, and licorice add nutrients to your meal without packing on the pounds. Also, since they are not overtly sweet, they don’t lead you to develop the proverbial ‘sweet tooth’ or the cravings associated with it, hence allowing you to cut calories.10
Over time, as healthy and clean eating becomes a lifestyle choice, you will find yourself cutting out unhealthy and calorie-filled foods quite easily. Until then, these hacks can help you fight cravings and cut calories from food in one go.
|↑1||Basic Report: 01077, Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Basic Report: 01079, Milk, reduced fat, fluid, 2% milkfat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D. United States Department of Agriculture .|
|↑3||Types of Milk. Dairy Council of California.|
|↑4||Wang, Y. Claire, Sara N. Bleich, and Steven L. Gortmaker. “Increasing caloric contribution from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices among US children and adolescents, 1988–2004.” Pediatrics 121, no. 6 (2008): e1604-e1614.|
|↑5||Are Fresh Juice Drinks As Healthy As They Seem? Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑6||Is your salad dressing hurting your healthy diet? Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑7||6 Healthy Salad Dressings You Can Make in Less than 3 Minutes. British Heart Foundation.|
|↑8||Whole Grains. Harvard TH Chan.|
|↑9||Revamp your snacking habits. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑10||Page, Linda. Linda Page’s Healthy Healing. Healthy Healing, Inc., 2004.|