What are some easy ways that I can cut calories?

Real Mom Problem

“My husband and I have decided to count the calories in our meals to lose weight. Based on my height and weight, I can only have 1,200 calories a day to lose weight.”

by matttabi matttabi

Quick Tips

  • 1. Keep a food log or food journal to record everything you eat. This will help you become aware of how much mindless eating you're doing throughout the day
  • 2. Cut out empty calories, especially in your drinks. Soda, lemonade, iced tea, and juices all have hundreds of calories that you don't need
  • 3. Control your portion sizes with smaller plates and minimize distractions while you're eating

Real Mom Solutions

The surest way to lose weight is by consuming fewer calories. Use these tips to get you started on learning how to cut your daily calorie intake.

Jane Schwartz Jane Schwartz

Our Expert Mom Says...

My best advice here would be to keep an honest food log of everything you eat and drink over a three day period. Here is where you can pinpoint how much mindless eating you do on a daily basis. Just gaining the awareness of how little bites or sips here and there add up to excess calories can go a long way toward reducing them. Many people also don't realize how many extra calories are in their drinks. Soda, iced tea, lemonade, and juices can add hundreds of unnecessary calories a day. Stick to plain water or seltzer to save. Also take your time while eating, and try to limit any distractions. Most people overeat because they are unaware of their "fullness" signals. When you eat mindfully, you are often satisfied with less. Finally, try eating on a smaller plate to help control portions. When you are done, it forces you to really think about whether or not you want or need to go back for more.

Jane Schwartz is a mom of two and a registered dietitian and health writer based in Princeton, NJ. She is the Outpatient and Community Education dietitian at the University Medical Center at Princeton. You can find out more about her work at her website, http://www.janeschwartz-rd.com.

More Calorie Counting Advice from Moms

  • Snu

    Every little bit helps! Try plain yogurt on chili instead of sour cream, or even in tuna salad instead of mayo. Greek yogurt is best for this because it isn't watery. Or try mixing half yogurt and half mayo. In a recipe, cut the butter in half and substitute plain applesauce (strain it for a couple minutes over a sieve). Recently, in making banana bread that required two bananas and a stick of butter, I used three bananas and half of a stick of butter. It was great! For sandwiches, if you like mustard, use that and skip the mayo altogether. Use less cheese, more meat, and pile on lettuce, tomato, and even cucumber slices to make it really filling. When I make my turkey chili, I recently started freezing about a third of the package of meat, and adding sliced zucchini to the chili to make up for the lesser amount of meat.

  • Erica_Smerica

    I still eat macaroni and cheese, just not as often. And now it's made with skim milk, no butter, and I typically add in three or so cups of veggies. And where I used to eat the whole box of mac and cheese, I now eat closer to half. With the added veggies, it's probably close to the same amount of food, just better for you.

  • SweetLuci

    When I'm trying to lose weight I cut down on meat, pasta, rice, and potatoes, and I add veggies. Eat baked sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Try baking or broiling instead of frying or sautéing. Grill. Soups are good for lunches. My husband eats Progresso canned soups for lunch to lose weight and it works for him. For breakfast, eat yogurt with granola and fruit. Oatmeal is very filling. Cutting out soda is a big help.

  • lovebugs_mom906

    Most restaurants have healthier options that you can choose when dining out, even fast food. Recently I ended up at Jack in the Box with my two-year-old, while we waited for our truck to get new tires. They have grilled chicken tenders that have only 250 calories and seven grams of fat. I chose that instead of the other options.

  • mikeysmom1980

    Portion control is huge! I've found that I am satisfied with nearly half the food I was eating before but if I pile huge portions on my plate I will eat most of them. I only put about half of what I think I will eat on my plate to start with; if I want more I get it, but only a few tablespoons at a time. But usually I find myself satisfied after the first plate.