5 Of the Easiest Ways to Cut Calories Everyday

Get expert tricks to say bye to unnecessary calories—and unwanted weight.

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You've been working out and eating healthy but still aren’t losing weight. So, what gives? A variety of factors, including gender, age and even stress levels, can affect how your body burns calories. But before you blame a slow metabolism for your weight woes, it’s just as important to take into consideration how many calories you’re eating on a regular basis. "Most people are taking in more calories than they even realize,” says dietitian and nutritionist Tracy Kuzava, RDN, of Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, Georgia.

Get started right now, with Kuzava’s five no-fail tips on how to rid your diet of excess calories and ditch those extra pounds.

Medically reviewed in August 2019.

Count Your Calories -- Including Condiments

2 / 6 Count Your Calories -- Including Condiments

Log your food intake in a journal. If you always have your phone by your side, it may be even easier to record your diet using a smartphone app, such as Sharecare (available on iOS and Android). Sharecare allows you to track the quality and quantity of each meal.

Not only will you get a handle on your calorie intake, you’ll take stock of the impact of everything you eat, from your daily soda down to the dressing on your sandwich. “Lots of people forget to add condiments in. It can be a big factor,” says Kuzava. For example, just one tablespoon of mayo can have up to a whopping 100 calories per serving. And while ketchup only has 15 calories per tablespoon, it still can add up if you’re using it regularly without thinking. “When I tell [patients] to log their food, it needs to be everything,” Kuzava says.

Stay Hydrated

3 / 6 Stay Hydrated

Drinking lots of water doesn't automatically equal a thinner you, but it does help keep the body healthy. In fact, a recent study found that adding one, two or three cups of water to your usual daily intake could help you eat 68 to 205 fewer calories each day. A general rule of thumb on how much water to drink daily: divide your weight (in pounds) by half and that's how many ounces of water you should consume.

To start sipping more water each day, carry a refillable bottle with you, especially at work. Every time you get up from your desk, take a trip to the water cooler as well. Make your H2O even more refreshing by infusing it with slices of fresh fruit or cooling veggies. And don’t forget—seltzer is hydrating too!

Build a Better Plate

4 / 6 Build a Better Plate

“You can’t exercise [away] a bad diet,” Kuzava says, “so you better start in the kitchen.” A great way to make sure you’re eating the right foods is to use this plate trick: At dinnertime, fill a salad plate halfway with fruits and vegetables. Then divide the remaining half between proteins (think: lean meats, eggs, beans, lentils and tofu) and healthy carbohydrates or starches. These can be as simple as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, but consider trying something new like farro, wheat berries or barley.

Using a salad plate is built-in portion control, and these healthy food choices tend to leave you full longer than sugary and fatty foods, meaning less overeating

Chew Your Food

5 / 6 Chew Your Food

This advice might sound obvious, but Kuzava says it’s a no-brainer shortcut to cutting calories. "Most people take 10 or 15 minutes to eat a meal, but it takes 20 minutes for signals to get up to your brain to let you know that you're full,” she says. Extend your meal time by chewing more thoroughly. Kuzava says that you’ll get that full feeling that can help you control your overall intake.

Get Enough Sleep

6 / 6 Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to numerous health issues -- including overeating. A recent study published in the journal Sleep found that being sleep deprived may boost levels of a chemical signal that enhances the pleasure you get from eating, particularly sweet or salty foods that are high in fat. Lack of sleep can also lead to more caffeine intake, and if you’re someone who likes sugar in your coffee, this can pour more calories into your day.

Try to get seven to nine hours of shut-eye per night to avoid negative consequences the next day. If you have trouble sleeping, try establishing a nightly routine, which can include writing out goals, doing a few stretches and turning off any electronics.

See More from Tracy Kuzava, RDN:
Why should I eat frequent small meals if I want to boost my metabolism?
What are the benefits of interval training?

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