If you are trying to lose weight and feel you have already made numerous sacrifices to eat less and be healthier, then you may be at your wit’s end because the scales are just not budging.

Often, it is small changes that can make a huge impact on your daily calorie intake. Changes you may not realize or have not been aware are available. 

I have 13 ways to scale back your daily calories and improve your diet success:

  1. Rethink Recipes

By taking a favorite recipe and changing a few ingredients, you can reduce the total calories and not compromise the taste.

  1. Use non-fat Greek yogurt for salad dressings: add lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper for a tangy dressing OR add a Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet to make a creamy Ranch dressing with less carbs and more protein
  2. Replace butter or oil in a recipe with non-fat Greek yogurt. Sour cream and cream cheese can also be substituted with non-fat Greek yogurt for fewer calories and fat.
  3. Use it in creams and sauces: Alfredo sauce, chicken or tuna salad (instead of mayo), or any whipped or creamy toping

Here are a few links to helpful recipes that sub non-fat Greek yogurt for MANY things:

  1. Ditch the Starch

Try avoiding extra starchy carbs by doing these simple things:

  1. Eat your sandwiches open-faced (one slice of bread instead of two)
  2. Hold the rolls at dinner 
  3. Grill, bake, broil, blacken your lean meat and avoid breading it
  4. Pass on pasta and potatoes 
  1. Don’t drink your calories

One regular soda has approximately 150 calories per can

Sweet Tea on average has 90 calories per 16 ounces if you add one cup of sugar per gallon

Alcoholic beverages can cause the calorie count to stack up: choose low-calorie or light beer, stick with wines (white wine has the fewest carbs) or champagne (less than 3 carbs per glass), and avoid mixed drinks that have sugary, fruity, sweet mixes

  1. Eat your salad skinny
  • Order dressing “on the side” and dip fork into dressing before you get a bite
  • Leave off the croutons, fried onions, crackers, toast, extra cheese
  • Top with only 4 ounces of lean meat (chicken, tuna, salmon, shrimp)
  • Use fresh, raw veggies and make them colorful (bell pepper, cucumber, radishes, tomato, celery, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • Order a small dinner salad (not the meal size) or prepare it at home on a small plate 
  1. Skip the extra fluff

Leave off whip creams, creamers, sauces, dips, and creams

  1. Don’t clean your plate! 

We have been programmed since childhood (mental anchors) to clean our plates. Reprogram your brain by forcing yourself to leave food on your plate each time you eat. Eventually, you will create a NEW mental anchor. 

  1. Share a Meal

When dining out, share an entrée with a friend and you will eat half of what you normally do. 

  1. Get more sleep

Fact: sleeping less than 6 hours per night increases your appetite, increases stress hormones, and decreases your metabolism

  1. Stop nibbling while you cook

Taste-testing and nibbling while preparing a meal can stack the calories. And, it is usually calories we NEVER count

  1. Weigh and measure EVERYTHING

In addition to weighing or measuring your food, know your serving size and how many calories you will be getting 

  1. Eat protein for breakfast

Research has shown, eating protein (up to 35 grams) for breakfast staves cravings ALL day, increases your metabolism, and decreases fatigue and hunger

  1. Eat Mindfully

Check out this blog post of mine that explains Mindful Eating in more detail and check out Dr. Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating

  1. READ Labels

Knowledge is Power! Knowing what you are about to consume, how much is a serving size, and how many calories you will get per serving not only helps you be a more mindful, conscientious eater but it helps create a new habit that will lead to weight loss success!