Sticking to Low-Cal throughout Your Day

Clock made of knife and fork, isolated on white background

Whether you are at home or at work, lunch is often a meal that has to be squeezed in around other to-dos for the day. A few easy habits can help prevent over-eating and a few more tips for your meals will help you get the most out of your day.

You don’t have to limit yourself to water, but try to drink at least a few glasses of no or low calorie beverages between meals. Ongoing research suggests hydration may influence how you function during the day1 and your mood which can affect what foods you crave2.

Consider using jelly with no added sugar for your PB&J. It’s amazing how many more fruits and vegetables we eat when they are already cleaned and portioned. It’s something many young children can help with while learning about food and mathematics as they count out their portions.

Adults and kids can enjoy granola bars, trail mix, and nuts as a tasty source of vegetable protein and fiber but check the calorie content because they can vary greatly. An added bonus is that they don’t require refrigeration so having portioned bags in the car, at home, and at the office can ensure convenience too. Lite yogurt or pudding, like any of the low calorie or fat free Jell-O®, can be good options for something sweet. Salads can be another great option and you can keep salad greens crisp by storing them on ice for the few hours between cutting them and serving them. Check the calorie content of your salad dressing when you purchase it, and make sure you don’t dress your salad in the morning as it may get soggy by lunch time.

After lunch, try chewing sugar-free gum to reduce the urge to continue snacking. An additional benefit is that these chewing gums have proven anti-cavity benefits3, 4.

It is important to watch your portion control during dinner, but know you don’t have to skimp on flavor to keep the calorie count down. Spice up some old favorites by adding spices or chilies to your dinner. You’ll be more satisfied if your food is packed with flavor, and thus you won’t eat as much. These two recipes are a great starting point: Grilled Salmon with Pineapple-Cilantro Sauce and Asian-Style Sea Scallops. Both of these recipes use NutraSweet® or Spoonful™ (aspartame) in place of sugar.

Calories are not only consumed through the foods we eat, but also through our beverages. Instead of going for a 5 oz. glass of Pinot Noir Red Wine (approximately 123 calories), opt for a diet soda with 4 calories as a substitute. Lastly, don’t forget to treat yourself with a low calorie Dessert Fruit Trifle, another great recipe that substitutes NutraSweet® or Spoonful™ (aspartame) for sugar.

1 Masento NA, Golightly M, Field DT, Butler LT, van Reekum CM. Effects of hydration status on cognitive performance and mood. Br J Nutr. 2014 May 28;111(10):1841-52. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513004455.
2 Hill AJ, Weaver CF, Blundell JE. Food craving, dietary restraint and mood. Appetite. 1991 Dec;17(3):187-97.
3 Dodds MW. The oral health benefits of chewing gum. J Ir Dent Assoc. 2012 Oct-Nov;58(5):253-61.
4 Keukenmeester RS, Slot DE, Putt MS, Van der Weijden GA. The effect of sugar-free chewing gum on plaque and clinical parameters of gingival inflammation: a systematic review. Int J Dent Hyg. 2013 Feb;11(1):2-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2012.00562.x.

Items of Interest

April 28, 2015 Lifestyle Advice