Lately, I have been thinking about how I can save even more calories but still enjoy my favorite foods. This idea came to me when I still wanted to eat something sweet while watching “Gran Torino” which is a great movie, by the way. This lead me to think about my top 3 nutrition hacks so I can still eat without sending my calorie intake through the roof.
Reducing Calorie Content But Not the Volume
I learned this strategy from following the Precision Nutrition (PN) plan when I’m not fasting. Basically, you can eat the same food and reduce the amount of calories in it without reducing the volume. For example, if you already eat plain yogurt with your fruits, you can switch to fat-free, plain yogurt instead. One cup of regular plain yogurt has about 120 calories while the same amount of fat-free yogurt is about 90 calories. You can also apply this idea to foods like whole milk vs. fat-free milk, white rice vs. brown rice, cottage cheese, etc. This is also a great trick for your eyes and your tummy because it usually can’t tell the difference in volume but you’re still saving calories.
Eat High Protein Grains
Eating high protein grains is one nutrition strategy is especially helpful for vegetarians or for people who are looking to add more protein into their nutrition plans but still want to enjoy their carbohydrates. Here is a list of grains that have more protein compared to rice at a serving of 1/4 cup:
- Farro – this a whole grain much like barley and wheatberries but it has 6 g of protein per 1/4 cup compared to brown rice which has 1 g of protein for the same amount. Check out this great Farro recipe from www.101cookbooks.com
- Quinoa – we are all familiar with Quinoa by now. This grain has 7 g of protein.
- Grain Amaranth – another grain that originated from Asia and South Americas. This grain has 7 g of protein.
- Hemp Bread – this is a lot like Sprouted Grain Breads but is a nice change if you’ve been eating those for awhile. You can find these at the bread aisle of your local grocery store. Each slice of bread has 100 calories and 6.5 g of protein. If you want to see if your local grocery store carries them, go to www.frenchmeadow.com and click on store locator.
When you eat high protein grains, you are also eating less carbs. That was obvious but I thought I’d still mention it.
Keeping it sweet but Reducing Sugar Content
So, I ended up getting a medium cup of French Vanilla cappuccino from 7-eleven to enjoy with Gran Torino. But, when I started giving up a lot of my sweets addiction, this cappuccino just tasted too sweet for me. So, to lessen the sweetness, I’d only pour the French Vanilla about a third of a cup and then fill up the rest with regular or decaffeinated coffee. This is a happy medium for me because I so love the flavor of French Vanilla but didn’t want all the added sugar. I haven’t actually applied this strategy to other foods since I try to avoid sugary stuff most of the time but if you want to sweeten things up without jacking up the calories, adding stevia is always a good option.
There you go, nutrition hacks that you can apply right away while still enjoying your favorite foods and not feeling like you’re depriving yourself. Thanks for reading my post and I look forward to your comments.