12 Smart Ways to Instantly Lower Your Calorie Intake

By Shannon Clark

September 3, 2014   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Looking to lose weight but don’t want to go on a full blown diet? If so, you aren’t alone. Few people actually like going on a formal diet plan and feeling – at least to some degree – rather restricted.

In many cases then, it’s simply best to look for little changes you can make to your current nutrition plan to cut calories and prompt fat burning. It can be easier than you think.

Here are 12 smart ways to instantly lower your calorie intake and boost your rate of fat burning.

1. Swap a bagel for an English muffin

That bagel you eat first thing in the morning is a carb landmine, so lighten up with an English muffin instead. It’s far lower in calories and will provide more fiber if you opt for a whole wheat variety.

2. Exchange egg whites for sausage

Sausage is one of the worst protein choices you could make for your morning meal, so go for egg whites instead. Low in calories and high in volume, they’re a clear diet winner.

3. Eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice

Always steer clear of fruit juice. It’s high in calories and lacks the fiber found in real fruit. If you want something sweet with breakfast, eat the whole orange instead.

4. Use unsweetened almond milk rather than skim

While skim milk can be a healthy choice, to reduce calories, opt for unsweetened almond milk instead. It’ll contain 30 calories versus the 90 calories found in cow’s milk.

5. Serve Greek yogurt instead of regular

Another dairy swap – go for Greek yogurt rather than regular whenever possible. Regular yogurt is high in sugar and is going to lead to rapid spikes in blood glucose. Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is high in protein and low in sugar. That’s the diet combination you want for your meal plan.

6. Opt for tilapia rather than steak

When serving up your protein source, try and opt for steak over tilapia whenever you can as well. While steak can be healthy, for those seeking fat loss, tilapia simply offers fewer calories. It will still provide the muscle boosting protein however so you can ensure you get your needs met.

7. Go for spaghetti squash rather than pasta

Another swap you should make in your diet plan is spaghetti squash for pasta. Far low in both carbs and calories, spaghetti squash earns top marks for lightening your dishes. With the same consistency and shape as regular spaghetti, it’s an easy exchange.

8. Choose oatmeal, not granola

If you’re in the habit of serving up granola for breakfast, this needs to change as well. Granola is very high in both calories and sugar, so far from an ideal option.

Instead, go with some oatmeal. It’s high in volume, sugar free (choose the unsweetened variety) and will provide some heart-health dietary fiber.

9. Use fresh fruit rather than dried in salads

If you’re whipping up a salad for dinner and want to add something sweet, consider fresh fruit rather than dried. While dried can taste great, it’s very calorie dense.

Try freshly sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, or blueberries instead.

10. Swap avocado for butter

Finally, if you want to add some creamy taste and texture to your dish, consider using pureed avocado rather than butter. Both are fat sources, but the avocado is a healthy source of fat and also contains fiber and a good vitamin E.

The same cannot be said for butter. Avocado is the clear winner as far as your health is concerned.

11. Opt for grilling over deep fried

Now that summer is finally here, take the time to properly grill your meats vs. pan frying. Not only will the meat be cooked healthier, grilling meat, when combined with the art of smoking can add a lot of flavor.

12. Switch to quinoa from white rice

Quinoa is lower in calories then white rice when cooked. It’s also a better source of protein, and has lower carbs. Just as versatile, switch to quinoa and enjoy the healthier substitute.

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark has a degree in Exercise Science and is an AFLCA certified personal trainer. She has written on the topics of health, fitness and nutrition for the last 8 years.

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