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10 Ways to Effectively Reduce Your Calorie Intake

lean femaleNeed some creative ideas to help you reduce your calorie intake? The following 10 tips can help you save hundreds of calories a day that will result in several extra pounds of fat loss over the course of time.

Chew Your Food

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that chewing your food 40 times instead of the typical 15 chews resulted in 12% fewer calories being ingested [1]. For an average 2000 calorie diet, that equals 240 calories.

Over the course of a year, that’s 25 pounds. Not only does chewing your food cut down on the calories, it also helps you slow down and enjoy your meal more.

Use Spices Instead of Sauces

We all look for ways to add some extra flavor to an otherwise bland meal. Instead of going the sauce route, why not use spices instead? They still add flavor, but they do it without adding major calories and unhealthy sugars to your meal.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber adds bulk and weight to your meals. Fiber expands in your stomach – filling you up so that there’s little room for more food. This sends a strong signal to stop eating.

Fiber also slows the digestion of your meal and provides a steadier release of glucose into the bloodstream. Because of this, you don’t get wild swings in blood sugar levels. This indirectly leads to less food being eaten due fewer cravings.

Eat at Home

It is much harder to control what goes into your mouth when it wasn’t prepared by you. Trying to eat a 500 calorie meal at a restaurant is 10 times more difficult than at home.

Even so-called healthy meals at restaurants can have hidden calories. They tend to use sauces liberally, and salad dressings can have hundreds of calories. Preparing your food at home gives you complete control of everything that goes into your mouth.

Split Your Meal

Many meals at restaurants have extremely large portion sizes. Many of these meals can easily pack 1,000 calories. Why not try splitting an entree with someone? If it’s still not enough food, you could always split an appetizer too. This is an easy way to cut your restaurant bill in half too.

Don’t Eat From the Bag

It’s much harder to keep track of your calories when you eat right from the bag. Studies have shown that we tend to continue eating until our food is gone instead of when we’re full.

Instead of eating straight from the original container, take what you plan on eating and put it into a bowl or onto a plate. It will keep you from overindulging.

Use To-Go Boxes

There’s no need to finish off every meal you buy when you go out to eat. Before you even start eating, ask for a to-go box and place half your meal into it. Place it to the side and eat the rest.

Get the to-go box first, however. Waiting until after you eat increases the chances that you’ll finish off your plate. Out of site, out of mind.

Drink Water

This is an easy one, yet many people just can’t stand the taste (or lack of) of water. Water does more than just reduce calorie intake. It helps keep your metabolism revving at 100% – causing you to burn more fat over time. Plus, for most people, they get more satiety from eating their calories instead of drinking them.

If you want a low calorie way to “spice” up your water intake, simply add some lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber slices to it. It’s a nice little way to stimulate the taste buds without adding calories.

Bake, Broil, or Grill

The way you prepare your food can have a dramatic impact on your calorie intake. Any cooking method that adds calories (like frying) will work against your weight loss goals. Try using other methods to cook your food that actually remove calories, like baking or grilling.

Use a Smaller Plate

The idea is simple – the bigger your plate, the more likely you are to put more food on it. A smaller plate helps you control portion sizes, which is a big key to weight loss.

A smaller plate also tricks your mind into thinking there’s more food on the plate than there actually is. When your mind thinks it’s eaten more food, whether it has or not, it sends out stronger “I’m satisfied” signals.

  • Tom Parker

    Excellent post as always Tony. The only thing I would add is keep healthy snacks close by. It makes you a lot less likely to go grab an unhealthy snack if you’ve got some fruit or nuts on hand.


    • Cathy

      I’m learning that this is NOT a diet. I have 4 kids, I’m at 152 and my goal is to be 135. I was a 6 before I had kids. My thought process is that I am doing my best to decide between good calories and bad calories. I’m eating at 1200 calories per day. I keep track and we eat at home. Example the other day, we had hamburgers and fries..I needed/wanted to get the rest of my 1200 and only needed a few more. I had some sliced fresh pineapple at the table, I chose to eat those 58 calories each to reach the 1200 instead of eating the fries. Is this a good process to do? I have lost, but then I lost my ambition last night. Pizza is my weakness and it was homemade, I ate 3 instead of 1 and gained 2 lbs. Instead of tracking raw foods, like fruits and veggies. Can I just count them if they are cooked instead? Can I eat as much fresh fruit as I want or do I still need to portion size that also and still count the calorie? Plus I’m starting a zumba class tomorrow I’m hoping this will help the process to lose faster and exercise.

      • Coach Calorie

        Substituting bad food for good food is always a good idea. You also did not gain 2 pounds of fat because you ate 2 more slices of pizza. 90% of that is probably just a fluctuation in water weight. Try paying more attention to body composition instead of weight. Body fat percentage is a much better gauge of your progress.

        Fruit is healthy, but it still has sugar, and you still need to make it fit into your calorie needs. Green veggies on the other hand, can nearly be eating in any amount you can possible stomach without you gaining weight. There just isn’t enough calories in them, and they are so bulky.