Home Health news Simple breakfast, lunch and dinner tweaks to save yourself 1,000 calories a day (and why you WON’T end up hating your diet)

Simple breakfast, lunch and dinner tweaks to save yourself 1,000 calories a day (and why you WON’T end up hating your diet)

by Editor

Cutting the calories? It can be tedious tracking exactly what you’re eating everyday, so making some simple changes to your diet is an easy way to lower your calorie count, whilst still enjoying your food.

Because ultimately, the fundamental rule of weight loss is calories in versus calories out.

Adam Enaz, a personal trainer and registered clinical dietician, explains that calories are essentially the energy present in the food we eat.

‘If we consume more calories than what our bodies actually need, the excess energy gets stored as fat, eventually leading to weight gain over time,’ he says. ‘On the other hand, if we intake fewer calories than what our bodies burn off, it forces our bodies to use stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.’

Managing our calorie intake is essential for regulating our weight, aiming to strike a balance between the energy we consume and the energy we burn.

You can cut your calories across all your meals and snacks with these easy tweaks…

Zero fat yoghurt and berries is a great calories cutting alternative to granola., which is full of sugar

Zero fat yoghurt and berries is a great calories cutting alternative to granola., which is full of sugar

BREAKFAST

Swap granola and toast for zero fat Greek yoghurt and berries 

Granola can pack in several grams of sugar, plus it’s unlikely you’ll be eating the recommended portion size (typically 30 to 40g) and will likely overestimate.

‘Ditch the sugar-laden granola and carb-heavy toast for a protein-packed bowl of Greek yoghurt topped with antioxidant-rich berries. Not only does this swap slash unnecessary calories, but it also provides a filling blend of protein and fibre to kickstart your day,’ says Enaz.

Calories saved: approximately 300

Swap sugary cereals for oats

Even cereals stamped with health claims can be laden in sugar which can rack up the calories whilst also leaving you pretty unsatisfied. Enaz suggests oats instead. 

The high fibre content of oats leaves you feeling full, plus oats are incredibly versatile and can be mixed with various different ingredients.

‘Sweeten oats naturally with a dash of cinnamon and fresh fruit for a satisfying morning meal that won’t wreak havoc on your calorie count,’ he said.

Fancy some peanut butter on your oats? Jess Hillard, a registered sports nutritionist for Warrior, warns that portion sizes need to be observed when it comes to fats, even the healthy variety.

‘Instead of having a large dollop of peanut butter on your porridge, choose 100 per cent nut butter and the serving size should be only 1 teaspoon,’ she says. 

Just one teaspoon contains 31 calories.

‘Watch how you pour syrups on your porridge. Opt for a light drizzle of honey or a small tablespoon of maple syrup,’ adds Hillard.

Calories saved: approximately 200

Bread isn¿t necessarily bad for you, but opting for the wholegrain variety offers more nutritional benefits such as gut-loving fibre

Bread isn’t necessarily bad for you, but opting for the wholegrain variety offers more nutritional benefits such as gut-loving fibre

Swap buttered white bread for wholegrain toast with a small avocado

Bread isn’t necessarily bad for you, but opting for the wholegrain variety offers more nutritional benefits such as gut-loving fibre. White bread has gone through more processing than its wholegrain counterpart.

‘The more processed a food is, the less calories your body burns trying to break it down,’ says Hillard.

Enaz says that swapping bread not only cuts down on empty calories but the creamy avocado also adds heart-healthy fats and nutrients to your breakfast.

Calories saved: around 50

Swap a bacon and egg sandwich for a veggie-packed two-egg omelette

‘Load up your eggs with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes for a nutrient-rich breakfast that’s low in calories but high in flavour,’ says Enaz.

‘Eggs are an excellent source of protein and contain essential nutrients like vitamin D and choline.’

Plus, eggs contain some B vitamins, which help convert food into energy.

Calories saved: around 250

LUNCH

Swap the BLT with crisps and a fizzy drink for a turkey and vegetable wrap

Despite the low-cal lettuce and tomato in a BLT, the fatty bacon and mayonnaise can make the calories creep up.

‘Sandwich options should be chosen wisely. Avoid processed meats such as ham and bacon and always choose wholemeal bread options. 

‘Chicken salad sandwiches, egg and cress, chicken and sweetcorn are the lowest options calorie-wise averaging around 350 to 370 calories compared to a BLT which is around 450,’ says Hillard.

Enaz says that a lighter option would be a whole wheat wrap filled with lean turkey slices, crunchy veggies, and a smear of avocado.

Hillard adds: ‘Watch what you’re drinking with your lunch. Water should always be your first option or coconut water which is also a great hydrating, no sugar drink if you want something that isn’t water.’

You could try sugar free flavoured sparkling water, herbal teas or infuse your water with lemon, cucumber, or berries.

‘When it comes to snacks, don’t grab the crisps and chocolate, think about your choices. Go for sweet fruit pots, boiled eggs or hummus and carrot pots,’ says Hillard

Calories saved: around 400

Despite the low-cal lettuce and tomato in a BLT, the fatty bacon and mayonnaise can make the calories creep up

Despite the low-cal lettuce and tomato in a BLT, the fatty bacon and mayonnaise can make the calories creep up

Swap a sandwich for soup

Don’t automatically assume that soup equals a tasteless, unsatisfying bowl of liquid.

‘Whether it’s a hearty vegetable soup or a protein-packed lentil or chicken soup, this swap provides a comforting and filling lunch without the potentially excessive calories of a sandwich,’ says Enaz.

Calories saved: around 200 to 300

Swap fried meats for grilled

If you’re out for lunch, an easy way to save on calories is by opting for grilled protein sources over fried. This includes chicken and fish. Fried meats are covered in batter and cooked in oil, which means their fat and calorie count is high.

Opting for a salad when you’re out?

‘Salads are a great option, but watch added dressings as these can rack up an additional 200 calories depending on the dressing itself. If you’re ordering in a restaurant, always ask for dressing on the side,’ says Hillard.

Calories saved: around 70

A hearty vegetable soup is a great alternative to a sandwich if you want to cut down on calories

A hearty vegetable soup is a great alternative to a sandwich if you want to cut down on calories 

Swap halloumi cheese for cottage cheese or Quark

A popular salad cheese, halloumi might taste great but Enaz says that 100g contains a staggering 315 calories.

Instead, opt for lighter cheeses such as Quark cheese which contains around 70 calories per 100g or cottage cheese which has 100 calories per 100g.

Calories saved: around 250

DINNER

Swap the chicken korma with naan for tandoori chicken with steamed veggies

Your Friday night takeaway needn’t disrupt your waistline.

‘Chicken korma tends to have a high calorie content mainly because of its creamy and rich sauce made with cream, coconut milk, yoghurt or a mix of all of these which are primarily fat-based ingredients. 

‘Chicken korma commonly includes high fat nuts such as almonds or cashews, further adding to its calorie count. 

‘While these things enhance the taste and consistency of the dish, they also contribute to its calorie concentration compared to chicken dishes, with lighter sauces,’ explains Enaz.

A tandoori dish however has less of the creamy sauce, plus the meat is grilled, rather than fried.

Making your own?

Hillard explains: ‘Always base meals off half a plate of veg. This increases fibre and fills you up with high vitamin and mineral foods. Many people base their meals off the carbs which takes focus away from veggies and increases calorie content.’

Calories saved: approximately 500

Chicken korma commonly includes high fat nuts such as almonds or cashews, further adding to its calorie count, experts say

Chicken korma commonly includes high fat nuts such as almonds or cashews, further adding to its calorie count, experts say

Choose cauliflower rice instead of white rice

‘Whether you’re enjoying a stir-fry or curry, cauliflower rice serves as a nutritious and low-calorie alternative,’ says Enaz. 

Do be warned though that cauliflower rice is high in fibre, so if your diet is currently lacking in fibre, go easy on the portion sizes as your gut gets used to an influx of roughage.

Calories saved: around 200 to 300

Swap noodles for courgette noodles

‘Replace carb-heavy pasta with courgette noodles. These are a low-calorie option of regular pasta perfect for those keeping an eye on their calorie intake or sticking to a low carb diet,’ says Enaz. Plus, courgettes are packed with benefits.

‘Courgettes contribute to our wellbeing by boosting immunity, improving eyesight and supporting heart health. 

‘The high amount of fibre in courgettes promotes digestion, stabilises blood sugar levels and helps with weight management by keeping you full. 

‘Being naturally gluten free makes courgette noodles suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or specific dietary needs too,’ adds Enaz.

Calories saved: around 200 to 300

Replacing carbohydrate heavy spaghetti for courgette noodles will cut the calories in your pasta dishes

Replacing carbohydrate heavy spaghetti for courgette noodles will cut the calories in your pasta dishes

Swap creamy sauces for tomato-based

A bowl of pasta doesn’t necessarily mean a big hit of calories. However the sauce you choose to eat your pasta with does have a huge impact.

A Tesco Lasagne White Sauce for example contains 6.7g of fat per quarter of a jar and 81 calories, whereas the Tesco Lasagne Red Sauce contains just 0.3g of fat per quarter of a jar and 40 calories.

‘Creamy sauces contain fatty ingredients like cream, butter, and cheese. 

‘Fats contain nine calories per gram and so have double the calories than other food groups such as carbohydrates which contain four calories per gram. 

‘Alfredo sauce for example, is made with butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese, all of which are high-calorie ingredients,’ explains Enaz.

‘Choose tomato-based sauces over creamy options and opt for vinaigrettes instead of creamy dressings,’ he adds.

Calories saved: around 300 to 400

Swap beef for lean white meat

‘Pick your protein source wisely,’ warns Hillard.

She adds that lean white meats such as turkey or chicken contain less saturated fat than red meats such as beef.

‘Or opt for a fish source such as tuna, prawns or salmon which are a great source of healthy fats omega 3 and omega 6.’

Calories saved: around 50 

SNACKS

Swap a chocolate bar for two dark chocolate rice cakes

‘A standard chocolate bar typically contains around 200 to 250 calories,’ explains Enaz. However, two dark chocolate rice cakes typically contain around 110 calories.

‘Dark chocolate rice cakes offer a crunchy texture and a hint of sweetness, making them a delicious alternative to traditional chocolate bars. They’re low in calories and provide a satisfying crunch, perfect for curbing your sweet cravings without overindulging.’

Calories saved: roughly 100

Lightly salted popcorn still has the crunch of crisps but contains less calories making it a good diet swap

Lightly salted popcorn still has the crunch of crisps but contains less calories making it a good diet swap

Swap crisps for popcorn

Greasy crisps won’t do your calorie count any favours, so unless you’re going to stick to a small handful, it’s best to avoid.

Need the crunch? Opt for lightly salted popcorn which offers the same salty texture, but contains far fewer calories.

Calories saved: around 100 to 150 

Swap nuts and dried fruit for cottage cheese and pineapple

It’s easy to go overboard on nuts and dried fruit, and before you know it, you’ve had several handfuls, each containing around 120 calories.

Enaz suggests protein-packed cottage cheese instead.

‘Cottage cheese is a low-calorie, high-protein option that provides satiety and essential nutrients, while pineapple adds a sweet and tangy flavour. This snack is perfect for curbing hunger and satisfying your taste buds.’

Calories saved: around 200 

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide 

Source link

You may also like

Leave a Comment

About Us

Vale 50+ Strategy Forum is a proactive public engagement group, working tirelessly to ensure that older people’s opinions and views are taken into account in all local and national strategic and operational planning.

Vale 50+ Strategy Forum
logo vale50plus

Enter your username and password to log into your account