Can You Eat More but Weigh Less?

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Can you eat more but weigh less?

You can most certainly eat more food and maintain or lose weight  Just because you are cutting calories doesn’t mean you have to eat less food; don’t eat less, eat better. Have you ever tried cutting back on the amount of food you eat only to find yourself so hungry you could not maintain the diet plan? Eating more is a matter of eating smarter by what you choose to eat. There is no getting around the fact that our bodies need essential nutrients to stay strong. A healthy lifestyle will always include eating healthy food and getting the recommended amount of physical activity. This takes patience, planning, and practice. It is always important to check with your health care professional before beginning a new physical activity routine or making a change in eating behaviors especially if you have a chronic disease.

Keep ingredients simple and as natural as possible. All pure fats have the same amount of calories (around 120 per tablespoon) but fats are essential for good health and helps to keep you satisfied. Cut calories by reducing the amount of fat and sugar in a recipe by ⅓. Replace butter or shortening with liquid oils or avocados to reduce saturated fat. To help lower the amount of added sugar without sacrificing taste, add natural sugars from applesauce or mashed bananas. Herbs and spices add flavor without adding fat, sugar, or sodium and are very low in calories. Lowering the amount of sugar and fat in your recipes can save hundreds of calories plus make them better for you and your family. To feel satisfied try adding bulk or fiber to your diet. The foods with the most fiber are whole grain, fruits, and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have a good amount of water to help you stay full and hydrated.

Portion control is important. A meal that includes vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and some fruit should supply the nutrients you need. For more information on serving sizes and the amount of food you need each day look up the MyPlate website for details.

Bananas, strawberries, and blueberries

Vegetables like celery, lettuce, carrots, eggplant, okra, green beans, cucumbers, peppers, dark leafy greens, squash, and tomatoes are a few vegetables low in calories. Eating non-starchy vegetables help fill you up without blowing your calorie budget. Here are a few tips on ways to make substitutions.

  • Eat more vegetables prepared without lots of added fat or sugar. Add vegetables in everything you can. Don’t drown vegetables in high fat, salt, sauces, butter, or cheese. Keep it simple and the calories remain low. For delicious Mac and Cheese, add cooked spinach or broccoli to reduce calories per serving. Using less butter or oil, substituting low-fat milk for whole milk, and using less cheese helps to reduce calories. Add a small amount of light cream cheese for a little extra creaminess to help with the texture. For a recipe like this your serving size will remain the same with less calories plus the fiber in the vegetables will help fill you up.
  • Fruit is nature’s candy, have some fruit for a snack instead of a candy bar or cookies. If you love cookies, experiment with making your own cookies with less fat and sugar. You might have to play around with the recipe to get it to turn out right but keep trying, you will create your favorite cookie. 
  • If you are choosing whole milk, try substituting 2% milk. This will save you 30 calories per cup. If you switch you 1% you can save 50 calories per cup over whole milk. 
  • Choose broth-based, lower-fat soups. Use low sodium chicken broth, which is low in calories and adds flavor when making soups and sauces. Use lower-fat cream soups in casseroles. Add another vegetable to your casseroles. A great recipe for an egg casserole is to add finely minced cooked onions, peppers, zucchini, or spinach. It tastes delicious and adds the needed fiber to help fill you up. This cuts down on the amount of calories per serving while boosting the amount of vitamins and minerals. 
  • Add black, white, red, or pinto beans to chili, soups, casseroles, or stews. Beans are relatively low in calories, high in fiber and protein, and are inexpensive and taste great. Rinsing canned beans before you add them to the recipes makes them taste fresher and reduces some of the sodium.
  • If you love French Fries, bake them instead of frying in oil, as oil has 120 calories per tablespoon. You can do the same with chicken nuggets.
  • Make healthier choices when eating out. Choose meals that do not have white cream sauces or fried meats. Begin with a salad filled with greens and fresh vegetables. Salad helps fill you up without adding many calories, just watch the amount of dressing you add. There are around 100 calories per tablespoon in regular salad dressings. Many commercial brands have lots of added sugar and salt too. Make your own vinaigrette dressing with less oil by adding ¼ cup of your favorite vinegar, 1 tablespoon any style mustard, and ¼ cup olive oil in a mason jar, shake and enjoy. Choose a meal that has lots of vegetables. Choose lean cuts of meat and skip the butter on your bread saving 100 calories per tablespoon. When eating out you can have a great substantial meal without loads of extra calories by asking the waiter how the meal is prepared and substituting steamed vegetables for fries, and grilled meats over fried. For packaged foods, learn how to read the nutrition facts label to help you make better choices. 
  • Snacks are important when cutting calories. Consider nuts, they are high in calories but a handful packs a powerful nutrient punch. Watch your portion but nuts are worth it. Popcorn can be very low calorie and you can eat up to 3 cups for around 130 calories versus the average candy bar that has over 250 calories. Fruits, including dried or canned without added sugar are always a great sweet treat. Dried vegetables are available now at the grocery store,  they are very crunchy and delicious. Lower-fat, lower-sugar frozen yogurts or a handful of your favorite cereal can be a great snack. One cup of low-sugar cereal averages around 100 calories. Choose cereals that are whole grain; make sure whole or 100% whole is the first ingredient listed and choose cereals that have 6 grams or less of added sugar, and have 3 grams or more of fiber.

Your main goal is to learn how to incorporate healthy choices for a healthier lifestyle for overall better health. It is all about balance, if you are trying to maintain your weight, eat the same amount of calories to the amount of energy you use. To lose weight you have to eat less calories than your body uses. We all have to consume calories to survive, calories equal energy. It takes time and patience to learn how to change your eating patterns. Forgive yourself if you fall off the new routine, it is never too late to try again the next day. Set small simple goals that you can measure.