It sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But by substituting healthier, lower calorie foods, you can really eat more food but less calories.
Many people throw in the towel on weight loss because they feel deprived and hungry when they eat less. But there is another way. Aim for a slow, steady weight loss by decreasing calorie intake while maintaining an adequate nutrient intake and increasing physical activity. You can cut calories without eating less nutritious food. The key is to eat foods that will fill you up without eating a large amount of calories.
If I cut calories, won’t I be hungry?
Research shows that people get full by the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories they take in. You can cut calories in your favorite foods by lowering the amount of fat and or increasing the amount of fiber-rich ingredients, such as vegetables or fruit.
Let’s take macaroni and cheese as an example. The original recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese. This recipe has about 540 calories in one serving (1 cup).
Here’s how to remake this recipe with fewer calories and less fat:
- Use 2 cups non-fat milk instead of 2 cups whole milk.
- Use 8 ounces light cream cheese instead of 21⁄4 cups full-fat cheddar cheese.
- Use 1 tablespoon butter instead of 2 or use 2 tablespoons of soft trans-fat free margarine.
- Add about 2 cups of fresh spinach and 1 cup diced tomatoes (or any other veggie you like).
Your redesigned mac and cheese now has 315 calories in one serving (1 cup). You can eat the same amount of mac and cheese with 225 fewer calories.
What foods will fill me up?
To be able to cut calories without eating less and feeling hungry, you need to replace some higher calorie foods with foods that are lower in calories and fat and will fill you up. In general, this means foods with lots of water and fiber in them. The chart below will help you make smart food choices that are part of a healthy eating plan.
Try fruits and vegetables like:
For more information read this PDF from the CDC.