New Year's Day is weeks away, but the time to start thinking about those resolutions is now- especially if you're planning to lose weight. Cleveland Clinic Registered Dietitian Laura Jeffers recommends making subtle changes to your meal plan today, so you can hit the ground running on the first day of 2015.
"One of the easiest things to do as you're preparing yourself to make a healthy change is just eat less of the food you're currently eating," she suggested.
Jeffers says don't take any food away right now and don't avoid any foods that you like; just practice portion control during the weeks leading up to the new year. In other words, start eating less to begin training yourself to need less. A good rule of thumb is to remember your meat portions should be no bigger than a deck of cards.
You can also start cutting calories by monitoring what you drink, too. She recommends decreasing calorie-filled beverages and replacing them with water. But if you're not sure where to start, Jeffers recommends talking to your doctor or a dietitian first to set realistic goals.
"When you set goals you want to take it slow because the longer it takes you to get there the longer you're going to be able to sustain it," she added.
This is also a good time to look at how many times you're snacking throughout the day. Jeffers says you may be able to gradually cut out calories by cutting back on snacks, or swapping them out for healthier options. Here are some calorie-saving swaps to consider:
- Instead of eating a bagel for breakfast, which can have up to 400 calories, eat an English muffin which has only about 150 calories.
- Eat sprinkled cheese instead of cheese slices. A tablespoon of Parmesan has only 22 calories when an ounce has more than 120.
- Potato chips are about 300 calories per every two ounces, o try eating Popped Chips which are also delicious but have much fewer calories.
- Swap that chocolate ice cream for a fudge bar. The ice cream has about 300 calories per cup. Fudge pops only have 100 calories per serving.
- Try eating spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti. It is a low calorie option and it only has about 30 calories per cup. This can save you about 200 calories per serving.