Dieting is never easy, and nobody looks forward to it. Starting a diet cold-turkey is sometimes too hard if you aren’t used to counting calories. If you want to lose weight, but fear having to give up your favorite foods all at once, here are a few simple ways you can improve your diet, and ease into weight loss.
You can save hundreds of calories each day just by eliminating condiments, or switching them out for low-calorie alternatives. Try cutting back on high-fat and high-calorie items such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, gravies and sauces. Instead, try using balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil on salads, and experiment with new ingredients for sauces, such as yogurt, light sour cream and low-sodium broth. Use your imagination!
Make the switch to leaner meats. Sure, lean meats are more expensive, so just use less. You can make up the difference by adding more veggies and salads to your meals, which are healthier choices anyway. Go for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lean ground beef and plenty of fish. Add some herbs and spices you’ve never tried, and you should never miss the extra fat!
Reduce your portion sizes. Start your meals with small portions of each course. If you are still hungry, have seconds, but limit yourself to salad and vegetables. You can eat what you like in moderation, just eat less of it.
Load up on vegetables and salad greens. Learn to love veggies. experiment with them- the way you cook them and the seasonings you use. Instead of boiling your green beans or zucchini, try roasting them in the oven with seasoning spices and some olive oil, a healthy fat. Make salads interesting by adding colorful peppers, chick peas, berries and some grilled chicken. Eating more vegetables and salads leaves less room for high-calorie foods.
Change up your cooking methods. You may be used to pan-frying or deep frying fish or meats. This covers up the great flavors with fat and grease. Try different cooking methods, such as broiling, steaming and baking. Add low-calorie spices, chopped nuts or even Parmesan cheese to give your meals extra flavor.
Make one or two days each week vegetarian only. Cut out all meats, and exchange them for clear soups, salads and fruit. You can find wonderful vegetarian recipes on the internet, and you will probably save some money as well!
You can save huge amounts of calories by switching drinks. If you are used to grabbing a soda, fruit juice or alcohol, try some lower-calorie options instead. Iced tea, seltzer water with lime or just plain old ice water will quench your thirst better than any high-calorie, high-sugar drink.
Have your snacks, but portion them out ahead of time. Purchase small plastic bags and fill them with one serving of your favorite snacks to avoid over-indulging. Some healthier snack alternatives include popcorn, pretzels, animal crackers or nuts. Allow yourself one or two snacks per day and no more.
Avoid fast food restaurants. Add your own fun to meals by grilling outdoors, or making your own family buffets. Meals can be fun without adding all the fat and calories of fast food to the mix.
Starting a diet may be difficult, but you can ease into it slowly by making a few simple changes to your menus and cooking styles. Try these tips to get you started, and switching to a more intense weight loss program will be considerably easier!