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Welcome to the inside of my brain. Here, I share experiences, tips, tricks and fun things I've learned during my weight loss journey. 

  • Gail Ballin

5 Hacks to Save Calories



Many of us who are trying to lose weight will cook at home more often than eating out. Not only is it healthier for your waistline and your wallet, but it’s much easier to track the calories of the the foods you’re eating because you know what’s in them.

There are some simple ways to cut calories and enhance the nutritional value of your food when you cook at home. Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me:


  1. Cut the fat. If your’e making a dish that requires heavy cream or evaporated milk, etc, go for a lower fat or no fat option. These days, we have a variety of choices and I always go with the non-fat option. You’ll never miss the calories or the flavor.

  2. Along those lines, when I’m sautéing my meals, I sometimes use a low sodium/low fat broth rather than olive oil or butter. While both olive oil and butter have some nutritional value, they also have calories. The broth adds a lovely flavor to the meal and it helps save fat and calories.

  3. Add veggies. I always have a few peppers, onions and green vegetables in my fridge. Those are staples that I purchase every week. I love them because i add them to almost everything that I cook - including breakfast. Adding veggies to your meals will add a boost of vitamins and minerals and it will help fill you up because of the fiber content. You can eat them raw (salad) or sauté, bake, roast, boil and puree them - anything goes!

  4. Tomato sauce. Many of the jarred tomato sauces have added sodium, chemicals and fats so these days, I make my own sauce. It is fresh, packed with nutrients and I know exactly what I’m eating. Here’s a comparison: There are 80 calories in a 1/2 cup serving of Ragu Old World Style Pasta Sauce and when I look at the label, there are too many chemicals that I cannot name written under ingredients. In comparison, there are 30 calories in a 1/2 cut serving of Del Monte diced tomatoes. There are 4 ingredients on the label - and I use this as a base for my own sauce. To it, I add some broth, sautéed vegetables, garlic, oregano, basil and the protein of my choice. It is absolutely delicious.

  5. Cut the carbs. I absolutely LOVE Italian food and always enjoyed a big bowl of pasta. However, 1 cup of pasta is 220 calories! While I still indulge from time to time, these days, I substitute my pasta with either zucchini or spaghetti squash, the consistency is the same, but I get a greater nutritional punch with less impact on my daily calorie intake.

When at work, I’ve always told my employees to ‘work smarter, not harder.’ There are hacks to every situation in life, including weight loss. Restricting calories does not mean that you have to live off of lettuce and water. You can eat a variety of foods, but be mindful of your choices and whenever possible, substitute healthier options when cooking at home.

You’ll see the benefits in your waist and in your pocketbook!

Bee healthy. Bee happy.


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