Watching our caloric intake is one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy weight, but can often be quite a difficult task. Not every food item we eat has the calories written right on the package. It's not like every single food is as easy to count as; one single egg, 5 ounces of wine, or 16 grapes. When we go to a restaurant, what we are actually eating is a complete mystery. Even when you think you are picking the healthiest option on the menu, the calorie count may surprise you.
So how do we cut calories from our daily intake? The truth is, you are probably consuming unnecessary calories in condiments, beverages, and high-sugar food items that are taking you way over the line and keeping you from losing weight, or even causing you to gain it. Here are 5 tips you should be following every single day in order to be in control of your caloric intake.
1. Portion Control
Image: Wiki Fortress
Yes this is easier said than done, but when you prepare foods for yourself at home, you need to stick to reasonable portion sizes. This is why measuring out our food actually helps us know what the proper portion should look like. Once you get the hang of it, it will become innate. Having flatware and glassware that is the appropriate size also helps us maintain proper portions, because a small plate that is full of food, tricks us into thinking we actually ate a large portion, whereas a large plate only half full, makes us feel deprived.
2. Read Packages for Serving Sizes
We have all dealt with this annoying issue, you grab a bottle of chocolate milk, iced tea, or orange juice and check out the calories per serving, assuming the whole bottle is 1 serving. After you drank the whole thing, you recheck the label and realize you just drank 2.5 servings and the calories and sugar content are astronomical! If you start checking packaging details thoroughly before consumption, you won't run into this problem. Also, many restaurants put nutritional info on their websites, so don't hesitate to check it out first.
3. Avoid High-Sugar Products
Image: Red Book Mag
You don't think about ketchup, salad dressing, or other toppings and condiments as being a major source of your caloric intake but they really do have an effect. Often times these products contain a ton of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and sodium and can quickly effect your bottom line. Make your own dressing at home, or choose other alternatives to your old standbys.
4. Remember to Count Your Beverages
Remember, drinks count. Juices, sodas, and alcoholic beverages add up! One 5 oz pour of red wine has about 125 calories in it so don't go overboard.
5. Make a Smart Switch
If you see the option to make a smart switch of ingredients, take that chance. Try switching out your mayonnaise and sour cream for greek yogurt, your pasta for veggie noodles, or your cow's milk for almond milk. These small switches end up making a huge difference if you consume these foods regularly.