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Top Ways To Decrease Fat and Calories Without Sacrificing Taste
*ProBodybuilding.com Note: Tips are not based on a strict contest diet
Regardless of whether you are dieting or looking to build muscle, most individuals who are heavily involved with their training are also looking for ways to boost the nutritional value of their diets to achieve optimal health. While it will be total calories at the end of the day that determines whether you experience a fat loss or weight gain (hopefully in the form of muscle if you’ve been resistance training), the types of calories you’re eating do matter from a health standpoint.
For example, while both 30 grams of candy and 30 grams of fruit would contribute approximately the same amount of carbohydrates to your day, the fruit is also going to provide you with vitamins to fight off diseases as well as dietary fiber, which leaves you feeling satisfied longer. If you’re on a lower calorie diet and only allowed so many calories each day, you’re likely going to have a much easier time sticking to your diet if you fill it with calories that ‘stick to your ribs’ as opposed to calories that seem to leave you hungry about twenty minutes after eating them (such as that high calorie Chinese buffet meal you might have had a few weekends ago).
Unfortunately, when most people think of the term ‘healthy foods’ they tend think of bland flavor. Often it’s the taste factor that makes it most difficult to stick with a healthy eating plan because the dieter either become bored with eating the same foods over and over again, aren’t particularly fond of the food they are eating in the first place, or simply cannot win the battle against their craving for the higher calorie items they would prefer to be eating.
Add to the fact that there is a very large psychological component in sticking with a healthy eating plan – it’s human nature to want what we can’t have. This doesn’t just apply to food, but most things in general. If someone tells you that you can’t have it, that’s all you think about. On your diet plan, it works the same way.
The solution to this problem is finding ways to cut the fat and calories without sacrificing the taste. Then you won’t be fighting that psychological battle, you won’t be fighting your cravings, and you might actually find that you never become bored with your food because now you actually do enjoy it.
Here are some of the best ways to eliminate sneaky fat and calories from some of your favorite foods.
Dab Your Pizza and Double Up On The Veggies
Pizza is one of our favorite foods, but it is also a meal that can really pack a calorie punch if you’re not careful. Cheese is the biggest culprit for boosting the calorie value so it’s there that you want to focus. When ordering your pizza, ask for double the vegetables and half the cheese. This allows you to fill the pizza with antioxidant-packed, low-calorie, fiber-rich vegetables. Chances are you won’t even notice the reduced cheese content. Most pizza houses tend to skimp on the vegetables in the first place, so by requesting double, you might actually taste them now.
To reduce the calories of your pizza slice, if you notice it’s looking a little greasy sitting on your plate, take a napkin and blot the top of it. This can actually decrease the calorie count by up to one hundred and takes only seconds to do. When you think about the extra fifteen minutes of cardio you’d have to do to burn off that excess fat, it’s an easy action to take.
Take Your Peanut Butter and Margarine Out Of The Fridge
Many individuals are in the habit of keeping their peanut butter and margarine in the fridge, which is something that’s going to work against you. When these spreads are cold they harden, making it harder to spread over your bread, bagel, or whatever you are putting them on and increasing the amount you use.
Since your spreads pack about 100 calories per tablespoon, a few extra tablespoons over the course of the day is enough to add half to one pound of body weight in a week. Keep them sitting on the counter, or in the pantry if it’s slightly cooler, and spread with moderation.
Use Broth In Your Stir-Fry
While a small amount of olive or peanut oil in your stir-fry does prevent sticking and add some flavor, far too many people are a little too generous when it comes to drizzling it on in the pan – especially if you like your stir-fry saucy.
Instead, opt for a teaspoon or two of oil and then use some low-sodium chicken or beef broth instead to increase the liquid content. Two other easy options for more flavor include low-calorie salad dressings or orange juice, that when combined with fresh vegetables and spices will really liven up your stir-fry.
Watch out for the commercial pre-made stir-fry sauces, as often they contain a very high sugar or salt content and will pack in the calories fast. You’re always better off to read the ingredients in these sauces and try and recreate your own using lower calorie and fat options.
Bake Your French Fries
Like pizza, French fries are another snack that many people crave, particularly while on a lower calorie diet. Whether you want French fries smothered in mozzarella cheese, dipped in ketchup and salt, or you crave chilli cheese fries at your favourite steak-house, French fries are a diet disaster.
If bake them however, then they go from destroying your diet to actually being a very healthy addition to any nutritionally sound plan. Potatoes themselves are a solid source of complex carbohydrates and good to have around the workout period. It’s the deep frying that comes with preparing standard French fries that causes the problem. To remedy this, try coating your sliced potatoes in one or two egg whites as well as a small amount of light parmesan cheese and any spice you prefer. Then lay them flat on a plan to bake in the oven. Flip at half time and once they’re done, and you’ve got crisp fries that are not only a good source of carbs, but have a small amount of protein as well.
Let Your Home-Made Soups Cool Fully
After the big meals of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, if you typically make up a batch of homemade soup, it’s smart to let the soup cool completely somewhere (covered outside works well if you live in a colder climate) before packaging or serving it. This will allow the fat droplets to concentrate on the top of the soup so you can then skim them off easily, reducing the fat and calorie content.
Add Protein Powder To Your Coffee For A Protein Boost In The Morning
Finally, the last simple way to reduce your total fat and calories is to use vanilla protein powder as a creamer for your coffee rather than traditional cream. This is another easy method to also boost your protein intake slightly, helping you meet your daily needs.
Another option is mixing up half a scoop of chocolate protein powder with half a cup of milk and mixing this in with half a cup of coffee. It’s a great way to make a healthy mocha that’s high on taste. Some protein powders don’t mix well with hot liquids, so mix it with the milk beforehand and then heat it up.
By keeping all these calorie and fat cutting tips in mind while preparing some of the favorite, you will definitely make your diet more manageable. Always be on the lookout for creative ways you can alter some of your classic recipes rather than just settling for the standard diet fare of bland chicken breasts and steamed vegetables. Healthy diets don’t have to be boring if you choose not to let them.
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