Our "Quick Tips" series brings you effective and easy weight-loss tips you can begin putting to use right now! In this installment, we cover healthier fast food, portion control, low-fat and sugar-free product pitfalls and more.
Don't Make a Sugar-Free Snafu
The section of sugar-free treats for diabetics at your local supermarket isn't exactly a dieter's dream. These specially-made sugar-free sweets like cookies or snack bars often contain nearly as many calories as their "normal" counterparts on the regular food aisles. Same goes with reduced-fat or "diet" cookies; just because they have less fat than other cookies doesn't mean they don't have as many calories. Calories count, no matter how "diet-friendly" something sounds.
Chicken vs. Burger
Chicken is often a smarter choice at fast food restaurants over burgers, but not if the chicken you choose is battered and fried. Many fast food chains' fried chicken sandwiches have as much (or more) fat than a regular hamburger. Your best choice is always to go with a grilled or baked chicken sandwich whenever possible; add fresh veggies to make your sandwich more nutritious and filling.
Be Choosey About Chicken Sandwich Toppers
Watch out for those mysterious "special sauces" some fast food chains automatically slather on. These kinds of extras can add hundreds of calories. For example, KFC offers a roasted chicken sandwich, but the sauce is so fat-laden it literally triples the fat content -- the healthy-sounding Tender Roast Sandwich with sauce contains 15 grams of fat and 350 calories. Skip the sauce and you'll only take in 5 grams of fat and save about 80 calories.
Put that Tupperware Collection to Use
Does a fridge full of leftovers spell diet disaster for you when you're too tired to cook dinner or you get the midnight munchies? Trick yourself into eating controlled portions by pre-packing individual leftover dishes into single-serving size containers. You can even get the divided, covered plastic plates and portion-out an entire meal ahead of time. You'll feel far more in control of your eating this way.
Are You Nuts for "Diet" Peanut Butter?
The reduced-fat variety is really not all that different nutritionally from the regular kind. According to Jif, a two-tablespoon serving of their regular creamy peanut butter contains 16 grams of fat and 190 calories. Check the label of the reduced-fat version of creamy Jif: 12 grams of fat for those two tablespoons, but the same amount of calories as the regular kind, 190! So, don't go "nuts" with the reduced-fat variety.