The following no-effort tweaks can be applied to your current routine instantly.
Order your drinks unsweetened
“Order a plain latte instead of flavored, plain iced tea, plain coffee,” says Beth Saltz, RD. Opting for the plain latte over the flavored will save you 40 calories per 16-ounce serving and forgoing the half and half in your coffee will save you up to 20 calories and 2 grams of fat per one-tablespoon serving of the creamy stuff.
Eat sitting down
“You would be amazed how many calories you consume without paying attention, especially from tray-passed foods and buffets at parties or get-togethers,” Saltz says. Mindless eating is the enemy of weight loss. Studies out of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab show we unconsciously eat more out of bigger containers, and in social situations. “If you’re sitting down at a table, though, you will be more mindful of what you are eating and keep extra calories from sneaking in from tray-passed snacks and buffet food,” she says. To reduce temptation even more, sit further away from the food.
Save the salad for last
Salad comes with your meal; just eat it at the end of your meal. “Rather than taking seconds of the main course, a salad can be a very filling, low-calorie option,” says Debra Wein, RD, president of Wellness Workdays, a leading provider of worksite wellness programs. “By eating it last, it will give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach so you realize that you aren’t as hungry as when you started your meal. Just make sure you skip the creamy dressings.”
Forget about diet soda
Research out of the University of Texas at Austin found that people who drank diet soda tended to have larger waists. After following 474 people for about a decade, they found that those who drank diet soda had a 70% greater increase in waist circumferences compared with non-drinkers. What’s more: people who consumed two or more diet sodas a day saw a 500% greater increase.
Choose alcohol or dessert, not both
If you start dinner with a glass or two of wine and end it with dessert, you’ve bookended your meal with an extra 500 to 1,000 calories, Saltz says. To lose weight, you have got to cut calories. So unless you plan to order a plain salad with balsamic for your entree, she suggests cutting elsewhere to avoid a 2,000-calorie meal. “If alcohol is your choice—I usually pick wine over dessert—order a decaf coffee to finish your meal,” she says. “If you want to splurge on dessert, then keep your liquid calories zero during the meal.”