Shopping suggestions to help you reduce calories

Eating less by reducing portion size helps you lose weight because you're consuming fewer calories. What you may not know is that changing some of your grocery shopping habits will also help you stick to your diet plan.

Shopping suggestions to help you reduce calories

Downsize your shopping list

  • Pay a few extra cents for smaller packs. The small packs actually cost more per gram (or ounce) than the large packs but it turns out that people tend to eat less when they get several small packages than when they get one large package containing the same amount. Part of the reason is that the smaller packages provide obvious stopping points at which to consider whether you want to keep eating. The other reason is the added cost might persuade you to be more frugal with your snacks — for instance, sticking to one bag at a time instead of several in a day.
  • Shop at the supermarket, not the warehouse club. This carries the same idea one step further. It turns out that having large stockpiles of food products at home like those huge boxes and bottles of food you get at wholesale club stores makes the products more visible and appetite-provoking than less plentiful ones. So those mega-containers contribute to over consumption and, possibly, to being overweight.
  • Find lower-calorie alternatives to the foods you crave. You will shave off pounds without feeling deprived if you find reasonable substitutes for the high-calorie foods you crave. For example, substitute baked veggie chips in place of fried potato chips; nonfat, sugar-free ice cream or fruit pops in place of the full-cream varieties; baked "fried" chicken instead of the real thing.

Buy the 5 most nutrition-packed foods

  1. Fish. Choose any fish for high-quality, lean protein that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. (One caveat: avoid large deepwater varieties such as tilefish, kingfish and swordfish, which are chock full of mercury.) Vary your fish choices: fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna) are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but you shouldn't eat them every day. And don't ignore shellfish: although it contains dietary cholesterol, this type of cholesterol is not linked to heart disease.
  2. Legumes. Legumes, like lentils and chickpeas, are the richest source of vegetable protein to be found. They're dense in nutrients, low in calories and are loaded with fibre — especially soluble fibre, the type that lowers blood cholesterol.
  3. Fruit. All fruits are fantastic as long as you eat them whole, as opposed to drinking processed juices. But super fruits like blueberries, kiwis and strawberries pack the most nutritional punch in terms of antioxidants and fibre.
  4. Sweet potatoes. When you see orange, think nutrition. Orange means beta carotene, which produces the antioxidant vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C and B6, and they're full of fibre.
  5. Oatmeal. Studies find that people who eat oatmeal regularly maintain a stable weight and a healthy cholesterol level. That's because oatmeal provides a high-fibre, high-protein source of magnesium and selenium. Add blueberries or raisins for an additional treat.
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