These 15 little changes will help you burn more calories, eat less, and reap major results with minimal effortBy: Emily G. W. Chau
It’s been drilled into our heads that 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat—cut 500 calories every day for a week and you’ll be a pound lighter. But according to a new study in the Lancet, most people actually will lose only half the weight predicted by the 3,500-calorie rule. Why? Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the rate at which your body gains and loses weight depends on, in part, your body’s make up.
Before you throw your diet—or scale—out the window in frustration, change your expectations. It might sound counterintuitive, but the same study suggests that you’re better off cutting just 250 calories a day. You’ll still lose about 25 pounds over 3 years and probably feel less deprived while you’re at it. So lose weight the easy way. Here, 15 ways to shave 250 calories from your day.
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Shave 340 calories
America may run on Dunkin’, but your body could probably run on fewer calories and still function just fine. Instead of going with the chocolate chip muffin (610 calories, 23 g of fat), order a chocolate frosted doughnut (270 calories, 15 g of fat) and save 340 calories.
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Shave 251 calories
Loaded with way too much sugary dried fruit and candy, store-bought trail mix has veered far from the good-old raisin and peanut blend from your Cub Scout days. A half-cup of the store-bought kind packs an average of 346 calories! Shave off 176 calories by making your own concoction with 1/2 cup of Fiber One cereal, 15 raisins, and 15 peanuts, suggests Erin Palinski, RD. Trade your regular 20 ounces of Gatorade for the low-cal G2 version and cut another 75 calories.
Shaves 250 calories
Grab your hiking shoes and head out to enjoy the fall foliage. A 160-pound person will torch 250 calories every 35 minutes spent trekking on the trail.
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Shave 250 calories
Try these simple swaps when you’re snacking on the run. Nosh on a stick of string cheese (60 calories) instead of a sugary energy bar, which tends to average 240 calories. Pass up the whipped cream on your Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte and you’ll cut another 70 calories.
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Shave 372 calories
Carb and cream-heavy dishes can deliver a double-whammy on your waistline. Instead of 1 cup of spaghetti with 1/4 cup of Alfredo sauce (470 calories), try the same amount of spaghetti squash with marinara sauce (98 calories). Prego!
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Shave 246 calories
Life’s little pleasures are better when you share them. Divvy up a slice of tiramisu with that special someone and save close to 250 calories.
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Shave 524 calories
Whipping up your own smoothie at home can save you more than 400 calories because you’ll skip the juice and extra sugar found in the restaurant version, says Palinski. Case in point: A 20 ounce Peanut Power Plus Grape at Smoothie King has 749 calories, but this DIY berry breakfast smoothie replaces grape juice with fresh berries for only 225 calories per serving.
Shave 259 calories
Ahh, fall! Take the whole gang apple picking and burn 139 calories in 30 minutes just from wandering around the orchard. Afterward, hold off on the apple cider doughnuts (200 calories). Instead enjoy the fruits of your labor and chomp on a just-picked apple for only 70 calories.
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Shave 480 calories
Channel Paula Deen and your mashed potatoes—complete with butter, cheese and a liberal helping of sour cream—can pack up to 600 calories per serving. Upgrade the nutritional value of this side dish by subbing in Greek yogurt for sour cream and cutting down on butter, recommends Palinski. The spuds will still be rich and creamy, but for 480 fewer calories.
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Shave 250 calories
Skip the calorie-laden piecrust and enjoy the warm filling, says Sari Greaves, RD, nutrition director at Step Ahead Weight Loss Center in Bedminster, NJ. That alone will cut about 150 calories. Say no to the dollop of whipped cream (save 30 calories) and trade your scoop of vanilla Häagen-Dazs for one from its Five line (save 70 calories).
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Shave 300 calories
“Eating a broth-based soup instead of a cream-based one is going to be a lot healthier,” says Palinski. Not only does cream have more fat and calories, but also it’s typically used in soups made with starchy carbs, such as potatoes. While a serving of New England clam chowder can pack up to 480 calories, a cup of minestrone can warm you up for only 180 calories.
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Shave 309 calories
Because it’s popped in oil and then drowned in butter, movie-style popcorn can contain 300 calories per 3-cup serving. Prepare your own at home for movie night and shave 207 calories per serving. Instead of washing it down with a cup of Sunkist orange soda (130 calories), mix your own bubbly from seltzer and a 1/4 cup of regular OJ (28 calories).
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Shave 270 calories
Drinking two glasses of water before eating may reduce your consumption by 90 calories a meal, report Virginia Tech researchers. Want other strategies to eat less? Eating slowly can help you shave 66 calories per meal; chewing gum before you eat can cut another 68 calories.
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Shave 913 calories
It might not be cold enough for ice-skating, but hit the roller-skating rink and burn almost twice as many calories. A 160-pound person will burn through 913 calories an hour Rollerblading and 513 calories an hour when on the ice.
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Shave 279 calories
Whether it’s puffed, popped, or whipped, foods with added air give you volume without the calories. Start your day with a cup of puffed wheat cereal instead of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and cut 119 calories. For another 30 calories, choose Yoplait’s Whips! instead of its original yogurt blend. Later snack on a single-serving bag of Popchips in place of rippled potato chips (save 75 calories). Finish the day off by buttering your dinner roll with a tablespoon of whipped butter rather than the stick kind and save 55 calories.
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