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Change these 5 habits to slim down & save 1,335 calories

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, May 29, 2012 - 12:59pm

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If you find you’re struggling to lose weight, it could be that some bad habits are weighing you down. Try these fixes to keep those bad habits in check and you could save 1,335 calories.

Bad habit #1: You think you need a full portion of a decadent treat to feel satisfied
The fix: Share with a friend
Calories saved: 300 calories

You don’t necessarily need a full restaurant serving of something rich and decadent—like French fries or chocolate cake, for instance—to feel satisfied. If you are tempted by such calorie-rich foods, keep your portion in check by sharing a small serving with your dining companion. Just think, a portion of restaurant-style French fries can be around 600 calories—sharing lets you save 300 calories and still get your French-fry fix!

Related: How Your Friends Can Help You Lose Weight for Good

Bad habit #2: Sticking to the recipe
The fix: Swap in healthier ingredients
Calories saved: 400 calories

You found a recipe for dinner tonight, but there’s just one problem—it’s got mega amounts of cheese and other high-fat and calorie-laden ingredients. Do your waistline a favor and swap in healthier ingredients, such as low-fat cheese or dairy (or use less than the recipes calls for), bump up the amount of veggies you include and choose leaner cuts of meat. If you choose a lighter recipe that uses some of these tricks in the first place, such as EatingWell’s healthier version of macaroni and cheese, you can save 400 calories over a traditional version.

Get the Recipe: How to Make EatingWell’s Lighter Macaroni & Cheese

Bad habit #3: Finishing everything on your plate
The fix: Eat half, save the rest for later
Calories saved: 415 calories

If you’re eating at a restaurant—whether you’re ordering a sandwich for lunch or a regular-size dinner entree—try eating half of what’s on your plate and packing up the rest for another meal (especially if you’re at a restaurant that serves oversize portions). You can round out your meal with fewer calories by ordering a side of steamed vegetables or a salad. For example, if you ate just half of the Sizzling Cajun Steak & Shrimp at Applebee’s you could save 415 calories—and bulk it up with a side of vegetables for just 35 calories. Or you could choose an item from their Under 550 Calories menu to keep portions (and calories) in check.

Related: 3 Ingredients of a Get-Skinny Lunch

Bad habit #4: Wasting calories on add-ons you won’t miss
The fix: Dip, don’t dress, your salad; ditch the top slice of bread
Calories saved: 70 calories; 100 calories

You’ve probably heard that restaurant salads can often be far from a healthy choice—salads that are drowned in dressings (or adorned in cheese, bacon bits and croutons) can pack a wallop of calories. Order your salad without dressing and then use the dressing as a dip. You’ll end up using far less than if you pour it on, and you’ll still enjoy the flavor with each bite. A full-flavored creamy dressing like blue cheese packs 140 calories into 2 tablespoons—try the dipping method and you’ll probably need a tablespoon or less, saving 70 calories. Another place you can use this trick is to ditch the top slice of bread and eat your sandwich open-faced—erasing 100 calories.

Related: Healthy Food Swaps That Save 875 Calories

Bad habit #5: Eating out of boredom
The fix: Go for a walk
Calories saved: 150 calories

When you’re bored, it can be super-easy to poke in the cupboards to find a snack “for fun.” Next time you find yourself reaching for a snack out of boredom rather than hunger, try substituting activity instead—go for a walk, do some push-ups or stretches—and you’ll end up burning calories instead of consuming them. By not munching on those chips you could save 150 calories…and that’s if you were only going to eat a single serving!

Don’t Miss: 5 More Bad Eating Habits You Should Break

What’s your best stay-slim habit? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Kerri-Ann Jennings, Diet Blog, Diet, Nutrition, Weight loss

Kerri-Ann Jennings
Kerri-Ann Jennings is a registered dietitian with a master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University.

Kerri-Ann asks: What’s your best stay-slim habit?

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