Cutting out calories needn’t be quite as difficult as you think. Here are 7 almost effortless ways to cut back on calories without feeling as though you are missing out.

1. Pay Attention To Your Meals

Many of us consume an unnecessary amount of calories simply because we are not paying attention to what we are eating. According to research findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition, eating when distracted can cause you to ignore your body’s signals that you’ve had enough, leading you to eat more than you normally would. To cut your calorie intake, try to eat at the table, rather than in front of a TV or computer screen, and learn to really savour your food.

2. Choose Filling Foods

If you want to eat fewer calories but still feel full, you need to be smart with your food choices. Opt for more filling foods rich in protein and fibre; both of which can help you to feel fuller for longer). Also, opt for ‘bulky’ foods which will fill up the stomach without you taking in a lot of calories. Experts at the University of Sydney developed a ‘Satiety Index’ based on how long foods will stop you from feeling hungry, and identified the most filling foods as potatoes, fish, oats, apples and oranges, wholewheat pasta, beef, beans, grapes, wholemeal bread and popcorn.

3. Get More Sleep

For a truly effortless way to cut back on your calorie intake, research suggests getting more sleep could do the trick. A study by Columbia University found that when people are sleep-deprived they eat almost 300 calories more a day than when they have had adequate rest. It is thought that this is because lack of sleep stimulates the production of our hunger hormone, ghrelin, while also lowering levels of leptin; the hormone that makes you feel full.

4. Cut Back On Liquid Calories

While many of us pay attention to what we eat, we often ignore those calories consumed in liquid form. However, these could add up to a significant amount of your daily total. While alcohol is the main liquid calorie culprit, soft drinks, fruit juice, smoothies and many hot drinks can also contain a vast amount of calories, and often next to no nutritional value. To reduce your calorie intake without changing what you eat, try swapping calorie-rich drinks for herbal tea or water. Alternatively, replace milky lattes for skinny versions and fizzy drinks for fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.

5. Skip The Condiments

If you consider yourself a healthy eater yet you still can’t ditch those extra pounds, it may be time to look at what you are eating alongside your meals. Oily and sugary dressings, dips and sauces can add a surprisingly high amount of calories on to what is otherwise a healthy and low calorie meal. Avoid those sneaky calories by opting for smaller amounts of low calorie condiments such as balsamic vinegar, salsa or brown mustard, or try skipping these extras entirely.

6. Recreate Your Favourite Treats

Making homemade versions of your favourite treats can help you to save on calories without compromising on taste. By making your own treats, you are in charge of what goes into them and can make ingredient swaps to further cut the calorie content. For instance, try swapping sugar for agave nectar (which is sweeter than sugar, so you will need less), replacing cream with evaporated milk or yoghurt, and using low fat coconut milk in your favourite curry. Cooking also burns off more calories than opening a packet, making this a great calorie-saving way to treat yourself.

7. Spice Up Your Meals

If you’re looking to reduce the amount of calories in your meals, using more spices, herbs and chillies in your food can help. Adding herbs and seasonings to your meals can add extra flavour to your food and give your meals a kick, without adding any extra calories. As an added bonus, chilli peppers and spices such as cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper and ginger can actually promote weight loss, helping you to burn off any superfluous calories consumed.

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