Simple (and small!) changes to your daily routine can help you slim down without dieting. Making healthy choices, like eating breakfast and moving every day, is the first step to dropping the pounds and feeling energized. A little planning ahead can go along way, as can stocking up on healthy foods so you don't fall into a comfort-food rut after a long day. The good news is you really don't have to overhaul your entire eating routine or live at the gym. Here are 85 evidence-based tips to help you lose weight and keep it off for good. Plus, it might inspire the rest of your family to get healthier alongside you.
Start by tossing the treats you simply can’t resist overdoing — whether that’s cookies, ice cream, chips, or soda. You're more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks if you have them, according to . In the pantry, stash healthier fare you want to eat only in moderation (nut butters, crackers, popcorn, etc.).
Put a big bowl of fruit on the counter, store fresh vegetables on refrigerator shelves instead of hidden in the crisper, and pour whole grains and dried beans into clear jars.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a couple of dates stuffed with almonds, or indulge a salt craving with a slice of turkey jerky. Nuts have even to weight loss and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Figure out one or two quick, nutritious choices you can grab every morning, like homemade energy bars. Or try a protein smoothie with frozen fruit, some fresh greens, 1 Tbsp of chia seeds, and a small container of plain 2% Greek yogurt.
We all have nights when we’re too tired to cook. Stock your kitchen with ingredients you can transform into a fast meal, like vegetable fried rice, or whole-wheat pasta tossed with steamed frozen Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and a little olive oil.
Give your body the nutrients it needs to power through your day in the morning instead of before you go to sleep. Stuff a whole-wheat quesadilla with shredded chicken, avocado slices, and Monterey Jack cheese and top it with salsa. Or try cold whole-grain pasta: Not only is it a time saver, but its carbs are converted into appetite-suppressing fiber instead of sugars. Top leftover pasta primavera or marinara with a fried egg. Then, downsize your dinner and serve yourself appetizer-size portions in the evening. Good picks include a small piece of vegetable lasagna or a couple of grilled-fish tacos.
Research suggests that allowing at least 12 hours between dinner and the next day’s breakfast may help speed weight loss; it may let you burn through unneeded fat stores faster or improve the body’s ability to use insulin. Have dinner earlier, or breakfast later — or both!
Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, kale, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, and eggplant. Then divide the remainder of the plate in half and fill each quarter with a serving of lean protein and fiber-rich complex carbs.
Eat at least two daily servings of minimally processed fiber-rich carbohydrates such as whole-wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and steel-cut oats. That’s as easy as 1 cup of whole-grain cereal for an afternoon snack or a ½-cup scoop of brown rice with a dinnertime stir-fry.
Use salad plates for dinner and dinner plates for salad. Research shows that you'll eat less off small plates because you'll keep your portions in check. For drinks, use your smallest glasses for milk and juice and your biggest ones for water. These strategies work by tricking your eyes.
Keep your portions under control by never eating straight from the box or bag. Unconscious eating from large bags or containers can lead to over-consuming. Research from found that people ate 45% more popcorn from large containers than popcorn served in a medium-sized container. Serve popcorn in a coffee mug, cereal in a teacup, nuts in a shot glass, and granola in a 1/2-cup ramekin. That will help you make sure your snack doesn’t become a fourth (or fifth!) meal.
Even healthy oils like olive oil contain 120 calories per tablespoon. Measure cooking oils by the teaspoon rather than pouring straight into the pan. Also measure nut butters.
Whether you choose still or sparkling water, drinking more of it can help you eat less. Research shows that drinking water can help you lose weight by helping you and reducing your appetite when consumed before meals. For a flavor kick, spike yours with fruits and herbs like grapefruit and thyme, strawberry and basil, or blackberry and tarragon.
Use spices in place of sugar (which to heart disease and weight gain) to add a sweet flavor to your food. For example, sprinkle pumpkin spice on top of plain yogurt, or put a dash or two of cinnamon on apple slices, oatmeal, or sweet potatoes.
What you'll need: Pumpkin spice ($5, )
Sugar-filled syrups can add hundreds of hidden calories to an otherwise calorie-free cup of coffee. Instead of having a flavored latte, sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa (unsweetened) on a cappuccino. You’ll save 120 calories and 22 grams of sugar—or more.
Opt for a homemade coffee shake with a mocha twist. Toss brewed coffee, a splash of skim or milk alternative, a small squirt of chocolate syrup, and a handful of ice into a blender. You'll be sipping about 70 calories instead of the in a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee drink.
What you'll need: Sugar-free mocha coffee syrup ($4, )
Liquid calories aren't as filling as calories from whole fruits and veggies, says An orange has about and 47 calories, while 16 oz of orange juice has about and 220 calories, so Bauer recommends eating your fruits and veggies rather than juicing them. If you do opt for juice, try a green one made with naturally low-sugar vegetables like spinach, kale, cucumbers, and celery with a splash of fruit juice for half the calories and a third of the sugar.
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate from plant-based foods like bran flakes and strawberries that absorbs water and helps us eliminate waste as it travels through the digestive system. According to a review published in , fiber may increase satiety to keep you fuller longer and dietary fiber intake is associated with lower body weight. recommends that women should aim for at least 21 to 25 g of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 g a day.
And we're not talking . Toss in chopped apple, radish slices, water chestnuts, or toasted walnuts to get a satisfying crunch plus a boost of nutrition.
Stress is a sneaky culprit when it comes to weight gain. Feeling stressed may cause you to crave unhealthy foods like sweets, carbohydrates, and fats even when you aren't actually hungry, according to a study published in .
Skip like white pastas and breads that are stripped of important nutrients and minerals like fiber. Instead, try delicious zucchini linguine with meatballs or spaghetti squash.
It's important to make sure you get your body moving every day, not only for weight loss, but also for your health. Walking about 10,000 steps a day reduces your risk of coronary heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure, according to .
When you get too hungry, you're less likely to make healthy choices. According to the , skipping meals can result in fatigue from lack of essential nutrients, and you may be more likely to snack on high-fat and high-sugar foods, which could result in weight gain.
To lose weight for good, avoid dieting or unhealthy habits you practiced in the past. Fad diets are temporary, restrictive, and can limit your nutritional intake, which can leave you feeling hungry and deprived, according to researchers at .
Avoid grocery shopping when you're hungry. You're likely to make impulse purchases that could lead to weight gain. According to research published in , hungry shoppers purchased six high-calorie items in comparison to four purchased by those who were full.
Eating too little can be extremely dangerous for your body. According to , having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of under 18.5 can lead to malnutrition, osteoporosis, developmental problems, a weakened immune system, anemia, and chronic fatigue. reports that the average woman needs about 2000 calories per day to maintain her weight and about 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week, though you should consult with your healthcare provider to see what's best for you.
Trim portions of food instead of removing entire categories (carbs, fats, etc.). The recommends for adults 18 and older to eat 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% fat, and 10-35% protein for a 1,500-2,000 calorie diet.
For a fit and toned figure, dieting alone isn't enough. You also need to exercise. The recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
Skipping breakfast may lead to weight gain. In a large study published in , adolescents and children who declined breakfast had higher BMIs and waist circumferences than those who ate breakfast regularly.