Prairie Fare: Trimming Calories with One Small Change in Your Diet
By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist
NDSU Extension Service
At this time of the year, food is everywhere. Plates of cookies, fudge
and other holiday treats greet us at every turn. At the same time, we are
constantly reminded by news reports that Americans are heavier than ever.
Are there any painless, easy ways to trim calories before we need to
loosen our belts in January?
To lose a pound of body fat requires changes in diet and/or physical
activity. A pound of body fat is equal to about 3,500 calories, and
nutrition experts suggest limiting weight loss to 2 pounds or less per week.
To lose a pound a week requires a deficit of 500 calories per day through
diet or activity.
Calories can sneak into the diet quite easily, but they also can be
trimmed quite easily. These tips to eat 100 less calories per day are
adapted from the ideas of Alice Henneman, an extension educator in Nebraska:
- Modify your milk. Instead of drinking two cups of whole milk, switch
to two cups of skim or 1% milk. The nutrients are about the same.
- Modify your mayo. Switch from two tablespoons of regular mayonnaise to
two tablespoons of low-fat mayo, or eat half as much regular mayonnaise.
- Rethink your drink. Instead of a can of regular soda pop (at 150
calories), have a glass of water. Or drink diet soda pop, which contains
- Downsize your drink. Switch from a 20-ounce container of regular soda
pop to a 12-ounce size.
- Dress, donít drown, your salad. If youíre like many people, three or
more tablespoons of dressing land on your salad. Switch to 1 1/2
tablespoons or less, and opt for lower-calorie, lower-fat options.
- Size up your cereal bowl. While eating cereal is a healthy option,
extra calories can sneak into your diet. Check out the nutrition facts
label so you know what a serving size is and how many calories you are
eating. Consider substituting a serving of cereal in place of a candy bar
for an afternoon snack, too.
- Watch how much spread goes on your bread. Limit the amount of butter
(at 100 calories per tablespoon) you spread on your bread.
- Count your cookies. A single cookie can contain 100 calories or more.
If you ordinarily have two (or more), have one. Or try an apple instead.
- Top your potato with fewer calories. Switch from butter to sour cream,
fat-free sour cream or yogurt.
- Lessen your liquor. A typical 5-ounce glass of wine has 100 calories,
one 12-ounce serving of beer has 150 calories and 1.5 ounces of distilled
spirits contains 100 calories.
- Be size-wise with fast food. Have a small order of fries instead of a
large, skip the mayo on burgers or order diet soda pop or water instead of
- Practice portion control with popcorn. Many people eat an entire
package of microwave popcorn, which often tops 500 calories. Portion a
bowl based on the nutrition information, try lower-fat versions of
microwave popcorn or share with your friends.
Hereís a colorful, novel recipe with a modified fat dressing developed by
the 5-A-Day Coalition of Iowa.
Salad on a Stick
For each skewer, allow the following:
1/2 cup fresh vegetables cut into 1-inch chunks (bell peppers,
cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms)
1 to 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite cheese cut into cubes (Cheddar,
Swiss, Colby Jack)
Alternate vegetables and cheese cubes on skewers. Serve with honey
mustard yogurt dressing or another dressing.
Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing
1 c. plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
3 Tbsp. sweet honey deli-style mustard
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
Stir all ingredients together until well blended. Store in refrigerator
until ready to serve. Dip and enjoy!
Makes 8 servings. Each 2 Tbsp. serving of dressing contains 30
calories, 1 gram fat, 4 grams carbohydrates and 4 percent of the daily
value for calcium.
Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Tom Jirik, (701) 231-9629, email@example.com
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