Select Page

Session 6-2

Tipping the Calorie Balance

Ways To Eat Fewer Calories

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both a healthy eating plan (calories IN) and regular physical activity (calories OUT).

Eat More, Weigh Less:

Use fruits and vegetables to help manage your weight

Eating fewer calories doesn’t necessarily mean eating less food and feeling hungry. You can do this by replacing some higher calorie foods with foods that are lower in calories, but will still fill you up.

You can create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite meals by reducing the amount of unhealthy fat (which is more calorie dense) and substituting fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in fat and calories, in its place. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes and are filling so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories.

Here are some ways to cut calories at each meal. Try these healthy swaps:

Breakfast Healthy swap Calories Saved
Cereal 1 cup fat-free milk instead of whole milk 63 cals
Eggs Use 1 squirt cooking spray instead of 1 pat butter 34 cals
Toast Use reduced-calorie margarine for toast rather than butter or stick margarine 36 cals
Lunch Healthy swap Calories Saved
Sandwiches Use 2 slices of red tomato and onion and 1⁄4 cup cucumber slices, instead of 3⁄4 oz cheese and 1 oz ham 154 cals
Sides Pair a sandwich with 1⁄2 cup fresh fruit or side salad w/ low-fat vinaigrette instead of 1oz potato chips, or fries 118 cals or 270 cals
Soup Choose vegetable-based instead of meat or cream-based soups saves approx. 45 cals/cup
Sald Dip your fork into ½ Tbsp. dressing instead of pouring 2Tbsp. dressing on the salad saves 109 cals
Dinner Healthy swap Calories Saved
Vegetables Use a non-stick pan to steam or grill instead of frying in 1⁄2 Tbsp oil 62 cals


Pasta, pizza, and other snacks:

Use part-skim instead of whole milk ricotta cheese

Saves 89 cals/cup

Substituting shredded carrots, zucchini, and spinach, for ground meat can

save 40 cals/cup

1 slice cheese & veggie pizza instead of one slice of a meat and cheese pizza

Saves 60 cals

Instead of cookies or other sweet snacks, have some fruit for a snack. One large orange instead of 3 chocolate sandwich cookies saves

Saves 54 cals/cup

3 cups air-popped popcorn instead of oil-popped popcorn

saves 73 cals

Avoid the vending machine! Pack your own healthy snacks to bring to work. Options include veggie sticks, fresh fruit, low-fat or nonfat yogurt without added sugar, or a small handful of dry-roasted nuts

saves 82 cals

8 ounces of sugar-free nonfat yogurt instead of a package of 6 peanut butter crackers

saves MISSING cals

Choose sparkling water instead of sweetened or alcoholic drinks: A bottle of sparkling water instead of a 12-ounce can of regular soda

saves 136 cals

Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls

Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions. As portion sizes have grown, we have been conditioned to eat more. Therefore being aware of portion size can go a long way towards reducing calories.

Portion control when eating out-


Many restaurants serve more food than a person needs. Try

– Splitting an entrée with a friend
– Put half of your meal in a “to-go” box as soon as it’s brought to the table.

Portion control when eating in –


To minimize the temptation of second helpings

– Serve the food on individual plates, instead of serving dishes on the table.
– Keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.

Portion control in front of the TV –


It’s easy to overeat when your attention is focused on something else.

-Put the amount that you plan to eat into a container instead of eating from the package.

Go ahead, “spoil your dinner!” –

– If you feel hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or small salad, to avoid overeating during your next meal.

Be aware of large packages –


The larger the package, the more people tend to consume, without realizing it. To minimize this

– Get into the habit of serving out portions.
– Don’t eat straight from the package.

Out of sight, out of mind –


People tend to consume more when the food is easily accessible.

– Store tempting foods, like cookies, chips, or ice cream, out of eyesight, like on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer.
– Move healthier food to the front at eye level.
– When buying in bulk, store the excess out of sight.
– Replace the candy dish with a fruit bowl.