HEALTHY EATING HACKS » + printable guide

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1. Eat cold greens instead of warm ones. Crisp lettuce takes up more room on the plate and requires more crunching. While it’s probably not the greens themselves that pack on the pounds, there’s something to be said for filling up your plate (and your mouth) with salad instead of other stuff.

Eat cold greens instead of warm ones.


2. Blot oil off of pizza. Blotting the oil off of pizza can save you up to 50 calories a slice, Schapiro says. And if you abide by the belief that every calorie counts, that’s not nothing.

3. Opt for plain, dark meat poultry instead of light meat loaded with condiments. Dark meats (like chicken thighs) get a bad rep for containing more fat and calories per ounce than white meat (like chicken breast). But dark meat, which tends to be more moist and flavorful than its lighter counterpart, only has about 10 more calories per ounce, according to Schapiro. And because light meat tends to be on the dry side, you end up covering it in condiments, which can contribute loads of calories that settle the score. So, as long as you eat dark meat without the extra fixings, it could be a better choice than white meat drowned in ketchup, gravy, or cranberry sauce.

4. Top pasta and pizza with garlic powder, fresh grated pepper, or red pepper instead of grated Parmesan. The calories in spices are negligible, while a couple heaping tablespoons of Parmesan cheese can easily tack on 50 calories, Schapiro says.

5. Eat bagel flats instead of full bagels. This trick beats scooping out the dough, which saves calories but also makes more room for high-calorie fillings.

6. Instead of sharing an appetizer and ordering your own meal, order your own appetizers and split an entree. When you share apps, you’re more likely to agree to ordering unhealthy ones (Nachos, anyone?) — and starters tend to be more appropriately portioned for one than some of the colossal entrees you see on menus, so you’ll save calories by eating less food overall. Order a salad or broth-based soup as a starter to fill you up, and share one main (which tends to be large enough for two, anyway).

7. Dress your food yourself. Order salad dressing, aioli, and sauces on the side to control the amount you eat. (No shame if you down the entire portion — chances are, it will still be much less than the amount you would have unknowingly eaten had the condiment been added in the kitchen.)

8. Pour off the oil that collects at the top of peanut butter jars and dressing bottles. 

Natural peanut butters and vinaigrettes sometimes separate because oil is less dense than other ingredients. Instead of stirring or shaking the container to combine, pour the oil off. You’ll skim off about 119 calories and 14g of fat for each tablespoon of oil you discard, leaving fewer calories in every remaining serving. 

(Pro tip: Leave a little bit of oil in nut butters to make spreading easier, and keep some oil in your dressing — your body needs some fat to function, and you want to make sure you’re getting enough.)

9. Order vinaigrette instead of creamy salad dressing. It often saves you calories and fat — particularly if you pour off some of the oil that collects on top of the vinegar using tip no. 8. (It’s another reason to order your dressing on the side.)

10. Use unsweetened almond milk in your coffee. While a splash of skim or 1 percent milk obviously won’t kill your diet, the calories in creamers and whole milks add up. Unsweetened almond milk often contains half the calories of skim, so the simple swap can save you quite a few calories over time.

11. Eat powdered peanut butter instead of the real stuff. Powdered peanut butter products like PB2, which is designed to be mixed with water or added to smoothies and sauces directly, deliver peanuty flavor without the fat found in regular nut spreads. The result is a product with way fewer calories: A two-tablespoon serving will only cost you 45 calories, as opposed to the 200 calories you’d throw back eating the same-size serving of regular peanut butter — one reason why Smith recommends it.

12. Eat white fish instead of dark fish. Cod, mahi-mahi, tilapia, and tuna contain fewer calories per ounce than salmon. While salmon’s extra calories come from super healthy fats (which are definitely worth eating), choosing a less fatty fish will save you calories if that’s the ultimate goal.

13. Bake or grill instead of frying. When you cook food in a frying pan over direct heat, you need to add oil or butter to the bottom of the pan to stop ingredients from sticking. That adds calories. But food sticking isn’t such a big problem when there’s no pan — like on a grill top — or when you cook food using the indirect heat in your oven.

14. Eat whole grain bread instead of white bread. Some whole grain breads contain slightly fewer calories than white bread (or just as many). But whole grain breads contain more fiber to keep you full for longer, so you end up eating fewer calories later on. (In other words? You lose the battle but win the war.)

15. Add chicken to your pizza. A measly 3 ounces of chicken can add about 25 grams of protein to your meal, according to Smith.

16. Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo. Smith likes this trick because Greek yogurt contains about 10 times as much protein as mayonnaise.

17. Mix in liquid that forms on top of yogurt. As unappetizing as the cloudy water might appear, that liquid is worth eating because it contains valuable whey protein. Mix it back into the yogurt and try to forget what you saw when you peeled back the lid.

18. Eat quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa may be a grain, but it stands alone as a complete source of protein. It also makes a solid stand-in for oatmeal in the morning.

19. Combine two carbs to make a complete protein. It’s a trick vegetarians and vegans swear by.

20. Scoop the dough of out your bagel. This can save you upwards of 200 calories, according to Schapiro, and it creates a cavity for you to refill that calorie void with protein-rich toppings, like tuna, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. 

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