We can talk till we’re blue in the face about making good choices at holiday parties—but sometimes you want to throw calorie-caution to the wind and simply celebrate the season. (Not at that point? Then read about which Holiday Foods to Avoid (and What to Eat Instead.)
You can eat what you want and not gain a pound—if you’ve banked calories to spend. Here are 10 simple ways to free up an extra 1,000 calories for a future splurge.
1. Have green tea instead of coffee with cream and sugar. For a 12-ounce size, this will save you about 100 calories.
2. Run or walk an extra mile: either way, you’ll torch about 100 calories.
3. Have an English muffin instead of a bagel. You'll save 100 calories if that bagel was 4 inches in diameter—and even more if it was a bigger one from the bakery.
4. Lose the top piece of bread on your sandwich. An open-face sandwich is often just as satisfying as one with double the bread. Isn't the filling the best part anyway? Related: 4 Secrets of Skinny People
5. Skip the cheese (on that sandwich) too. Load it up with veggies and you’re less likely to miss it.
6. Swap that heaping tablespoon of mayo for some mustard. Mayo delivers 90 calories in just 1 tablespoon. Mustard adds a spicy bite to your sandwich at only about 10 calories per tablespoon.
7. Halve the amount of rice you have with your stir-fry. A cup of rice (200 calories) is technically two servings of grains, actually. Which is fine: even if you're eating only 1,200 calories—the lowest calorie level that's considered healthy—you still need six servings of grains a day. But if you're trying to bank calories, it’s a place to cut back. Try it: A Delicious 1,200-Calorie Diet Meal Plan to Lose Weight
8. Snack on popcorn (2 cups, 62 calories) instead of peanuts (1 ounce, 170 calories). Yes, nuts have heart-healthy fats, but popcorn is significantly lower in calories. Plus, it counts as a whole grain!
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9. Dress your salad with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (40 calories) and plenty of lemon juice (6 calories per ½ lemon) instead of 2 tablespoons of ranch dressing (145 calories).
10. Spread 1.5 tablespoons of hummus instead of 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter on a whole-grain rice cake and save 106 calories.
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How do you make room for calories in holiday treats? Tell us what you think below.