calorie cutting
Let's face it — losing weight, no matter how you cut it, is challenging. What makes weight loss even more challenging, too, is the fact that there are so many diets out there claiming to be the "right" and "most effective" one. Fads aside, though, one thing is for certain — losing weight comes down to burning more calories than you consume. Need help eating fewer calories? Here are ten clever ways to cut calories effortlessly from your diet:

1. Ditch the bread

Instead of fixing yourself a sandwich for lunch, forgo the bread and mayo and make yourself a salad with all your usual sandwich fixings. You'll save around 500 calories. For example, rather than eating an egg salad sandwich, you can make a salad with hardboiled eggs, feta cheese, chickpeas, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers with low-fat dressing.

Say no to cocktails

2. Say no to cocktails

If you're a fan of going out with friends for drinks, then you'll want to steer clear of certain cocktails, such as margaritas. One large 18-ounce margarita can contain as many as 800 calories. Order a glass of white wine instead, which only has 140 calories per 6-ounce glass.

Switch to black coffee

3. Switch to black coffee

Many coffee drinks are loaded with hidden calories. For instance, a grande latte with no sugar has over 200 calories, but a cup of black coffee has less than 5 calories. If you're a fan of Starbucks, opt for a cold brew iced coffee over a Grande Mocha Frappuccino, which will save you around 400 calories.

Eat slower

4. Eat slower

Eating your food super fast doesn't allow your stomach to send signals to your braining letting it know that you're full. But if you chew your food twice as much as you normally do, you'll feel fuller on less food. In fact, you might be able to reduce how much you eat at each meal by 100 calories or more.

Cook more often

5. Cook more often

Studies have shown that people who cook their own meals at home instead of eating out or ordering in save roughly 150 calories per meal. That could add up to around 450 calories per day if you prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home. Another added bonus -- you'll save money, too.

Get more sleep

6. Get more sleep

Sleep deprivation not only slows down your metabolism, but it also causes you to overeat. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, and you'll consume at least 300 calories less during the day.

No food after 7 p.m.

7. No food after 7 p.m.

Nighttime snacking can lead to accidental overeating. But by not eating food after 7 p.m., you'll eat around 250 fewer calories daily.

Forgo appetizers

8. Forgo appetizers

Appetizers at restaurants can quickly add up calorie-wise. For instance, a basket of chips and with a side of salsa at a Mexican restaurant can contain upwards of 600 calories. And dipping a few slices of bread into olive oil can add up to more than 500 calories. Just stick to the main course instead.

Swap meat for mushrooms

9. Swap meat for mushrooms

Research shows that people who substitute mushrooms for red meat eat 400 calories fewer on average than those who stick with red meat. Instead of grilling meat burgers, try marinating and grilling portobello mushrooms.

Drink more water

10. Drink more water

Oftentimes people mistake thirst for hunger, which causes overeating. But research suggests that, if you drink an additional one to three glasses of water a day, you'll reduce your food intake by over 200 calories. Try drinking a big glass of water before eating a meal.

Not all calories are created equal

While it's true that losing weight is all about calories in versus calories out, not all calories are created equal. To feel fuller for longer, you should focus on eating lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables rather than on eating refined sugars and carbohydrates. It's important that your body receives the nutrients it needs to run efficiently. Incorporate simple, healthy changes into your diet, and you'll begin to notice the pounds melt away.

  1. "50 Easy Ways to Cut 100 Calories (or More!)," Shape, February 3, 2015.
  2. "100 Easy Ways to Cut 50 Calories," Reader's Digest, n.d.
  3. "12 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Cut Calories and Lose Weight," Prevention, August 29, 2014.
  4. "The No-Hunger Way to Cut 100s of Calories," Fitness, n.d.
  5. "What's the Healthiest Way to Cut Calories?," Self, June 19, 2016.

fitness | weight loss | nutrition | health