There are numerous ways to approach a weight loss goal. Some common methods include increasing exercise, modifying food choices, and improving hydration. One of the simplest ways to work towards a lower weight is to cut calories from your diet. Of course, you need to consume a minimum number of calories to support your daily needs, but reducing calories from your diet in a reasonable manner is a great method for weight loss.

There are countless ways to go about this. One of the main focuses when cutting calories should be limiting foods that provide little nutritional value. These are most often items with added sugar. Think soda, candy, pastries, and sauces with sugar in the ingredients. A diet rich in lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats can help keep you full and satisfied and meet your nutrient needs. As you continue on your weight loss journey, focus on limiting the foods and drinks that provide little value. Read on for 25 easy ways to cut calories, and for more, check out 6 Best Weight-Loss Breakfasts Under 400 Calories.

Eat an Open-Faced Sandwich

Open face turkey sandwich
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 65100

You can save dozens of calories when you drop a slice of bread from your sandwich. For example, Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Grains & Seeds contains 110 calories per slice. Load up your remaining slice with lean meat, veggies, and low-calorie condiments for a filling lunch.

 9 Best Whole Grain Breads on Grocery Shelves

Swap Whole Milk Yogurt for Non-Fat

woman eating yogurt, concept of can eating yogurt help you lose weight
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 80

Whole milk yogurt, such as Chobani’s Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, will run you 170 calories per 6-ounce serving, while non-fat is just 90. Greek yogurt is packed with protein, making it a filling option for a quick snack or meal addition.

 The 17 Best Low-Sugar Yogurts on Grocery Shelves

Trade Mayo for Mustard

mustard condiment in jar with knife
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 70

Mustard provides very few calories, while the oil in mayo creates a condiment with nearly 100 calories per serving. Swapping one tablespoon of mayo for mustard will save you over 70 calories while adding plenty of flavor to your meal.

Swap Salad Dressing for Salsa

Bowl of salsa
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 100

Traditional salad dressings are oil-based and provide about 120 calories per 2 tablespoons. Most people use a portion larger than this to dress their salads, leading to high-calorie meals. Instead, use salsa to dress your salad for a mere 12 calories per 2 tablespoons.

Enjoy Coffee With Stevia

artificial sweetener coffee
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 45

Adding regular sugar to your coffee adds empty calories that add up quickly. A single teaspoon of sugar provides more than 15 calories, while stevia provides zero. Trading a tablespoon of sugar for stevia in your morning coffee will save you 45 calories and even more if you are used to putting in a larger portion of sweetener.

 10 Ways to Break Your Sugar Addiction—For Good

Bake With Applesauce

Apple sauce
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 850

Applesauce can be used as a substitute for oil in your baking. Next time you make banana bread or any other quick bread, swap your oil for equal parts unsweetened applesauce. The half cup of oil in your recipe provides over 900 calories; the applesauce sets you back 50, allowing your baked good to be moist and delicious.

Try Powdered Peanut Butter

Powdered peanut butter
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 106

Peanuts are a source of healthy fats and provide nearly 200 calories per 2 tablespoons. However, the same portion of powdered PB delivers only 60 calories while maintaining a similar amount of protein. Mix the powdered PB with water to create a spread for numerous meal and snack creations.

Use Herbs Instead of Sauces

herbs in a plastic bag
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 25

It can be tempting to use sauces to add flavor when preparing meat. Some sauces, like barbecue, can pack 30 calories per tablespoon and a surprising amount of sugar. Herbs, however, are low in calories and add tons of flavor and antioxidants.

 The 11 Healthiest Herbs & Spices You Can Eat

Try 2% Cheese

Shutterstock

Calories cut: 27

Cheese provides protein and important micronutrients. However, it also contains about 9 grams of fat per ounce. Trading your regular cheese for an option made with 2% milk will lower the fat content by about 3 grams, saving you calories.

 10 Low-Fat Cheeses You Can Eat When You’re Losing Weight

Enjoy Almond Milk Instead of Dairy Milk

almond milk
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 74

Dairy can be part of a healthy diet, but a cup of 2% milk contains about 120 calories. Trading this option for unsweetened almond milk will save you about 70 calories, while still providing a great option for your smoothies, coffee drinks, baking, and more.

 The 11 Best Almond Milks To Buy, According to Dietitians

Trade Your Toast for Rice Cakes

rice cakes
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 74

A slice of toast with nut butter or avocado is an easy breakfast or snack. One slice of whole grain bread can pack more than 100 calories, while a large plain rice cake is 35 calories. Enjoy your favorite toppings on the rice cake for a crunchy, lower-calorie alternative.

Skip the Egg Yolk

Shutterstock

Calories cut: 54

Although the yolk contains important nutrients, it contains nearly all of the fat in an egg. Enjoying egg whites and skipping the yolk will save you about 5 grams of fat and more than 50 calories per egg. Luckily, this swap is still loaded with filling protein.

Swap Rice for Cauliflower

cauliflower rice
Amallia Eka/Shutterstock

Calories cut: 144

White rice contains about 170 calories per cooked cup. Although fluffy and dense, trading this side carb for cooked cauliflower rice saves you tons of calories. This trade allows you to get a good volume of food for a few calories and boosts the fiber in your meal.

Mash Berries in Place of Jam

Shutterstock

Calories cut: 44

Jarred jam can contain loads of added sugar and provides about 50 calories per tablespoon. Instead, mash two defrosted strawberries  (or your favorite berries) with a fork and use this homemade alternative instead of jam.

 The 8 Healthiest Jams & Jellies—and 3 To Avoid

Enjoy Sparkling Water Instead of Soda

sparkling water with lime
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 156

If you love carbonation, trading regular soda for sparkling water can save you nearly 160 calories. Diet soda can save you loads of calories, too, but introduces questionable artificial sweeteners into your diet. Instead, go with a can of unsweetened, flavored sparking water to meet your carbonation cravings.

 10 Best Sparkling Water Brands, According to Dietitians

Trade Chips for Popcorn

healthy microwave popcorn
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 40

There’s no doubt that chips make for an enjoyable, crunchy, salty snack, but a single serving can set you back nearly 150 calories. Instead, choose air-popped popcorn for a savory snack and save yourself almost 40 calories. When choosing popcorn, you’ll also get a much larger portion for this calorie amount.

Swap Ice Cream for ‘Nice Cream’

Nice cream banana
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 30

Who doesn’t love a scoop (or two) of ice cream for dessert? While delicious, ice cream can contain over 100 calories per half-cup serving. Instead, blend peeled, frozen bananas with a couple of tablespoons of your milk of choice until smooth. Place in the freezer until frozen. A banana contains only 100 calories and will lend to more than a half-cup portion once blended.

 25 Unhealthiest Ice Creams—Ranked by Sugar Content

Trade Dark Meat Poultry for White Meat

turkey breast
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 30

Dark meat has a higher fat content than white meat, which lends to a higher calorie count. However, both types of meat provide a good amount of protein, so trade the higher-calorie dark meat for white meat to save yourself some calories.

Use Cooking Spray Instead of Oil

cooking spray
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 97

Whether you are sautéing veggies or scrambling eggs, trading your drizzle of oil for cooking spray will save numerous calories. One tablespoon of olive oil contains more than 100 calories, while a generous spray of cooking oil will provide fewer than 5.

Swap Italian Meats for Deli Meat

sliced turkey
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 81

Salami and prosciutto may bring the flavor, but that’s because of their higher fat content. Instead of Italian cold cuts, load up on lean deli meat, such as turkey, ham, and chicken. This swap will increase protein and set you back fewer calories.

 25 Unhealthiest Deli Meats—Ranked by Sodium

Enjoy Oatmeal Instead of Cereal

close-up holding bowl of oatmeal with berries, concept if eating oatmeal can make you gain weight
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 89

There are many reasons to choose a bowl of oatmeal over cereal for breakfast, including the lower calorie count. While oatmeal may have more calories per half cup than cereal, when you compare the half-cup of oats to a typical serving of cereal that’s often closer to 1.5 cups, you’ll save plenty of calories.

Trade Short Ribs for Top Sirloin

top sirloin steak
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 29

Red meat is a high-quality source of protein, but not all cuts are created equally. Lean cuts, such as sirloin, are lower in fat and saturated fat, which means they are lower in calories, too. Enjoy sirloin and filets more often than higher-fat cuts.

Eat Mini Versions of Sweets

Shutterstock

Calories cut: 157

A candy bar can be a tempting treat, but many options have more than 200 calories per package. For example, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups provide 232 calories for two large cups, while two mini cups come in at under 75 calories.

 30 Low-Calorie Desserts to Buy Under 150 Calories

Make Your Drinks Virgin

cranberry lime cocktail in highball glass
Shutterstock

Calories cut: 32

Mixed drinks pack tons of calories, especially those with added sugar. One easy way to reduce calories in your beverage is to skip the alcohol. Enjoy a virgin margarita for less than 90 calories instead of the boozy version, which will set you back 122 calories.

 15 Healthy, Low-Calorie Mixers for Every Kind of Cocktail

Skip Animal Skin

juicy chicken breast
iStock

Calories cut: 39

A chicken breast is a lean piece of meat, but not when the skin is included. Animal skin is a concentrated source of fat, driving up calories. A chicken breast with skin comes in at more than 250 calories, while a skinless option provides just over 200.


You May Also Like

The 10-Minute HIIT Workout for Men To Get Shredded

To get lean and see muscle definition, you need to shed the…

The 10 Best Exercises for Stronger Thighs

Here is a timeless fitness truth: Whether you want to lose weight,…

The Best Mediterranean Diet Breakfast for Weight Loss

When you want to lose weight, tweaking your breakfast habits is an…

Dehydration: Ten Foods and Drinks to Watch Out For

Highlights: High-sodium foods and sugary drinks can lead to dehydration …