By Zoe Bradbury
Losing weight can be a battle for many, with the balance of healthy eating and exercise often hard to grasp.
Further, some people can become frustrated when it seems that they have this balance in check, but yet the weight is still not shifting.
Simple food swaps, that one will hardly notice, can make all the difference when trying to drop excess fat.
People usually think they’re choosing the healthy option when opting for a salad, but if store bought, they can often be laden in dressings.
These can quickly add up in calories, especially when one goes over the recommended serving size. Two tablespoons of ranch dressing has a whopping 140 calories and 16 grams of fat, while mayonnaise has 200 calories in just two tablespoons.
Swap these high fat dressings for options like balsamic vinaigrette, which only has 28 calories in two tablespoons. Or, skip the oil all together and add a source of healthy unsaturated fats like hummus, which contains 50 calories and 2.8 grams of fat per two tablespoons.
Potato chips are a snack that many reach for, and despite being made out of a vegetable, they offer almost no nutritional value, says registered dietician Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet.
A healthier option is air-popped popcorn, which contains 0 grams of fat and 31 calories per cup. For a more substantial, filling option roast some chickpeas in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and other seasonings.
Chickpeas are high in protein and fibre, and they provide that crunch that many crave. One cup of roasted chickpeas contains 269 calories and 15g of protein, and will keep one satisfied for longer than traditional chips.
Cut lunch calories in half by turning sandwiches into open-faced meals. This means that only one piece of bread is included, with the sandwich ingredients sitting on top.
Two slices of brown wheat bread contain roughly 250 calories and 47 grams of carbohydrates, and cutting this in half can allow for calories to be consumed elsewhere throughout the day.
Many people use alcohol as a means of celebration and de-stressing at the end of the day, but when on a diet, they are often told to cut it out altogether.
If alcohol is something that one enjoys, don’t cut it out completely in order to lose weight – just be smarter about beverage choice.
Additionally, swap the soft drink mixer for soda water. While also cutting back on artificial sugars, soda water has zero calories, compared to sugary drinks like Coke, which has approx. 150 calories and 39 grams of sugar per can.
Portion sizes are key when trying to lose weight, with Healthy Week Australia stressing the importance of having balanced meals full of vegetables, good-quality carbohydrates and lean protein to keep calories down.
Instead of loading up that plate full of pasta, halve the portion size and replace the rest with vegetables, like broccoli, beans, spinach and brussels sprouts.
These vegetables are “bulky”, meaning that the high quantities of the fibre found in them can keep one fuller for longer, with large portion sizes not stacking up the calories.
Guidelines suggest that half of the plate should contain vegetables, one quarter of the plate whole-wheat carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain pasta. The remaining quarter should be full of lean protein such as poultry or fish.
Many reach for dried fruit thinking it’s a healthy snack, but it often contains double, if not triple the amount of sugar that fresh fruit has, wellness nutritionist Ariane Hundt told Well and Good.
Dried fruit like apricots, raisins and cranberries are more calorie-dense than their non-dried counterparts, because the sugar in the fruit becomes concentrated during the dehydration process, which removes the water.
For example, fresh apricots contain 48 calories and nine grams of sugar per 100 grams. When dried, this turns into 241 calories and 53 grams of sugar per 100grams, which is almost five times the amount.
To drop the calories, stick to fresh fruit.
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