A handful of chips here, a drizzle of honey there … wait, how many extra calories were in that latte you just had? Somehow more calories than you intended to eat seem to creep into your day—a very frustrating scenario if you’re trying to stick to a daily calorie target. The facts: most people are eating way too much added sugar and saturated fat, and nearly everyone could benefit from eating more fresh fruits and veggies. Serving for serving, sugar and fat contain exponentially more calories than non-starchy fruits and vegetables, so one of the quickest (and easiest!) ways to lower your counts is by changing the balance on your plate. But when you’re keeping track of your intake, it’s also helpful to know specifically which foods to look out for and to understand portion sizes.
Fortunately, once you start spotting calorie bombs, it’s easy to come up with substitutions and solutions. Here are 15 simple swaps, that can help you dramatically cut back on calories.
Instead of a large pumpkin spice latte, size down and make it skinny. Definitely lose the syrup and whip, but you could keep a pinch of nutmeg, for holiday flair.
- 16 fl oz pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream 420 calories
- 12 fl oz plain, nonfat latte 100 calories
Instead of a blueberry muffin, stir fresh or frozen blueberries into your oatmeal. A sprinkle of cinnamon wouldn’t hurt, either.
- 1 large blueberry muffin 521 calories
- 1 cup oatmeal 166 calories, ½ cup blueberries 42 calories, 208 total calories
Instead of a bagel for breakfast, grab a whole-wheat English muffin and opt for a low-fat spread.
- 1 large bagel 360 calories, 2 tablespoons regular cream cheese 102 calories, 462 calories total
- 1 English muffin 127 calories, 2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese 60 calories, 187 calories total
Instead of a deli sandwich with the works, make it a wrap with extra veggies.
- 2 slices bread 159 calories, 3 oz ham 137 calories, 1 oz cheese 115 calories, 1 tablespoon mayo 94 calories, 505 calories total
- 1 whole-wheat tortilla 127 calories, 3 ounces turkey 92 calories, ¼ avocado 57 calories, 3 slices tomato 11 calories, ½ cup greens 3 calories, 290 calories total
Instead of a soda, get your caffeine kick from unsweetened iced tea.
Instead of chewy fruit-flavored candy, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit.
Instead of crackers and cheese, snack on veggies and hummus.
- 16 crackers 155 calories, 1 oz cheese 115 calories, 270 calories total
- 1 cup celery sticks 16 calories, 2 tablespoons hummus 50 calories, 66 calories total
Instead of neon cheesy corn chips, crunch on plain popcorn with parmesan and pepper.
- 1 oz nacho cheese tortilla chips 147 calories
- 1 oz plain popcorn 110 calories, 1 teaspoon grated parmesan 7 calories, 117 total calories
Instead of filling your plate with pasta, toss in some zucchini noodles.
Instead of mashed potatoes, let cauliflower stand in.
Instead of a thick slice of pepperoni pizza, order a thin slice of veggie pizza.
Instead of fatty steak, flip it for firm white fish.
Instead of ground beef, power up with plant protein from lentils.
Instead of indulging in ice cream, go for frozen yogurt.
Instead of a glass (or two!) of white wine, sip on sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon.
These are just a few quick and easy swaps. Start food logging in the Fitbit app, and you’re sure to spot so many more places where you could cut back. Try it for a few days, and notice which foods and what portion sizes are driving up your counts.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.