Smart swaps help prevent excess pounds and life-shortening, obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Try these easy ways to cut calories and reduce your intake without even noticing

By Astrid Van Den Broek

17 painless ways to cut calories

You know that cutting calories can shrink your waistline—but did you know it may also add years to your life? For example, managing your weight is one way to reduce your risk of cancer, according to a World Cancer Research Fund review of more than 7,000 studies. Here are a few everyday calorie trims, including insights from Gina Sunderland, a Winnipeg-based registered dietitian.

To cut about 100 calories

  • • Spread sugar-free jam on your toast or sandwich—two tablespoons contain just 20 calories, compared with 100 calories in traditional jam.
  • • Whip your trans-fat-free, soft-tub margarine with a countertop or hand blender. This incorporates air into your spread so you end up using much less.
  • • Reach for an orange rather than a glass of OJ. Even 100% fruit juice packs a high calorie punch.
  • • Choose light beers for those warm summer nights—a Sam Adams Light weighs in at 119 calories versus a Samuel Adams Cream Stout, which has 190 calories.
  • • Treat yourself to a Tim Hortons Maple or Honey Dip doughnut for 210 calories instead of the 360-calorie Walnut Crunch.

To cut about 250 calories

  • • Make French toast using egg whites and skim milk, and cook in a non-oiled, non-stick pan.
  • • Simmer your pasta sauce or chili with ground chicken or turkey instead of lean ground beef.
  • • Order a veggie burger rather than beef.
  • • Try the Wendy's Kids’ Meal with four chicken nuggets rather than the standard 10-nugget adult version.
  • • Get the day off to a sweet start with a low-fat waffle. (It racks up only 70 calories, while a bagel is about 360 calories.)
  • • Order a grande Coffee Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee at Starbucks instead of the Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee—you’ll save a grande 250 calories. (And you may even burn a few trying to get your order right!)

To cut about 500 calories

  • • Savour the taste of fried chicken without the calories: Bake it at home by first dipping it in water (rather than eggs) and coating it with cornflake crumbs (rather than bread crumbs).
  • • Indulge in a scoop of sherbet or gelato instead of cheesecake for dessert.
  • • Avoid the “meat lovers” pizza. Select a thin crust instead of a thick one, and order half the cheese and double the vegetables.
  • • Make your own breakfast sandwich: Use an English muffin or two slices of multi-grain bread, microwave-poach an egg, then add tomato and a slice of fat-free cheese.
  • • Cool down with a 50-calorie Dairy Queen fudge bar instead of a 730-calorie, medium-sized Oreo Cookies Blizzard.
  • • Order a glass of water and a burger at McDonald’s and skip the 580-calorie, large-sized fries.

Don't miss out! Sign up for our free weekly newsletters and get nutritious recipes, healthy weight-loss tips, easy ways to stay in shape and all the health news you need, delivered straight to your inbox.

Best Health Magazine, Summer 2008

No votes yet