4 Small Eating Changes for Big Weight Loss

4 Small Eating Changes for Big Weight Loss

When you think of losing weight, do you worry you’ll have to eat foods that taste like cardboard or say no to sweets altogether? Not necessary. In fact, making drastic changes in your diet—especially ones that aren’t sustainable—can set you up for failure. If you want to slim down, check out these easy, science-backed tricks that can help you cut calories and make smarter food choices.

1. Clean your plate and still lose weight
A 2014 study from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that the average adult eats 92 percent of whatever is put on their plate. If you’re like the vast majority of adults, if you serve it, you’ll eat it. Simple solution: Measure out proper portion sizes and don’t go back for seconds. That way you won’t have to worry if you’ve cleaned your plate.

Tip: To keep portion sizes under control, try eating off a smaller plate, such as a dessert or salad plate. Use a regular dinner spoon instead of a larger tablespoon when serving yourself.

2. Be smart about fruit
Many fruits are high in natural sugars and carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean you need to banish them from your diet. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing the amount of fruit you eat doesn’t automatically lead to weight gain. Fruits are also packed with fiber, vitamins and other nutrients your body needs.

Tip: Stick with water-packed fruits to eat more. For 100 calories you could have one medium-size banana or a medium-size apple. Or you could enjoy 1 1/2 cups of grapes, 2 cups of strawberries or 2 cups of watermelon and still hit the 100-calorie mark. 

3. Ditch the white bread—we mean it
You probably know by now that white bread lacks the fiber, minerals and other healthful nutrients found in darker, whole-grain breads. But here’s yet another reason to say “no thanks” to the white stuff. A study of the eating habits of 9,200 adults found that those who ate only white bread and had at least two servings per day (as opposed to those who ate both white and whole-grain breads) were 40 percent more likely to have weight problems.

Tip: Challenge yourself to ditch white bread altogether for 10 days and see how much you really miss it. You might even lose some weight! 

4. Whip it good
Foods that are whipped or puffed up with air can make you feel satisfied without overdoing the calories. Take popcorn (hold the melted butter): It’s light and airy so you end up eating about a third fewer calories than you would with more calorie-dense snacks, like potato chips. If you use cream cheese or other spreads, go for the whipped variety. Ounce for ounce, they have fewer calories and fat.

Tip: Try whipping air into eggs for fluffier omelets. To get maximum volume, mix them in a blender. 

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

Want to Lose Weight? Eat at Home
Want to Lose Weight? Eat at Home
Pop quiz: It's Friday night and you're trying to decide where to take the family for a healthy dinner on the town. Should you pick a) a vegetarian res...
Read More
What changes should I expect after gastric bypass surgery?
Rodrick D. McKinlay, MDRodrick D. McKinlay, MD
Some of the changes you can expect after gastric bypass surgery are: learning to eat differently...
More Answers
7 Common Weight Loss Mistakes—and How to Fix Them
7 Common Weight Loss Mistakes—and How to Fix Them7 Common Weight Loss Mistakes—and How to Fix Them7 Common Weight Loss Mistakes—and How to Fix Them7 Common Weight Loss Mistakes—and How to Fix Them
3 Everyday Eating Mistakes
3 Everyday Eating Mistakes