5 Tips to Help You Lose More Weight This Year

Is your New Year’s weight-loss resolution never successful?

Does it go something like this?

You start the year charged up and ready to go!

You’re gonna lose lots of weight, drop several sizes, and be beach & bikini bound by summer.

You’re eating better. You’re working out harder.

But, by March (maybe sooner) you start sliding back into your comfy ways.

You know what I mean. Eating more comfort foods and working out a little less.

Getting together with friends for tailgate parties, Saturday night restaurant hopping, and any fun stuff you can think of to get through the cold winter months.

And, boom. Before you know it, summer’s here.

And you’ve only lost a few pounds. Or maybe you’ve even gained a few.

Are you asking yourself why?

Could it be that you set yourself up for failure, right from the start?

People lose weight differently, but with similarities.

As the former owner of a weight-loss consulting service, I discovered that people approach weight-loss differently.

  • Sometimes it’s a mind game.
  • Sometimes it’s to please someone else.
  • Sometimes it’s because you wanna be the same size as a certain celebrity.
  • Sometimes your doctor says the weight needs to go.
  • Sometimes you just wanna be the same size you were in high school.
  • Sometimes, you just wanna do what others are doing. (It’s called herd mentality).
  • Sometimes, you just wanna build your self-confidence.

And the list could go on.

I also found some similarities.

These seem to help people reach their goals.

If you wanna lose weight, these tips can help most people.

So, I’m gonna share them with you to (hopefully) make your weight loss easier this year.

(Cause, girlfriend, you can do this!)

Here are your tips.

Tip 1

Don’t choose a diet just because it’s popular.

Just because a diet works well for others doesn’t mean it’ll work well for you.

Here’s why:

  • You’re different from everyone else.
  • You have different food preferences.
  • You have a different budget.
  • You have a different lifestyle.

For example:

You might only cook for one.

Or you might need to prepare meals for five other family members.

You might have weird working hours, and don’t have time to cook.

Or, maybe you hate cooking altogether. (It happens!)

You see…

A diet’s only good if it works for you, your lifestyle, your likes and dislikes.

When choosing a diet plan, you need to think about it. Seriously. And do this.

A. Choose a diet based on foods you like.

The Paleo Diet™ might be all the rage, but if you’re not a meat eater, it might not be a good choice for you.

If you hate fish, the Mediterranean diet might not be the best choice, either.

I know people who hate veggies and salads; if that’s you, then you might not do well on a low-carb diet.

Don’t choose one just because it’s trendy this year; choose it because it’s the best fit for you.

B. Choose a diet that fits your lifestyle AND budget!

If you don’t have time, OR the desire, to plan, cook, and prepare recipes with lots of ingredients, you probably won’t stick with it.

Do you have a family of four to feed? Then, some of those pre-packaged meal plans might not be practical for your budget, either.

SO, pick a diet that works for YOU, YOUR family, and YOUR lifestyle.

And if you can’t find one, design your own.

By designing a plan around foods you love, and your lifestyle, you have a better chance of success.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Sit down and make a list of your favorite healthy foods.

Step 2: Now categorize them into columns of lean proteins/meats; fruits; veggies; low-fat dairy; and low/no calorie beverages.

Step 3: Make another list of treats/snacks you love.

Step 4: Type both lists and tape them to your fridge.

Step 5: Eat from the first list 95% of the time. You can find lots of healthy new ways to prepare them, like grilling, baking, steaming, or air frying.

(With so many recipes on the Internet these days, you can find all kinds of yummy ways to prepare healthy meals. There’s literally NO excuse.)

Step 6: Eat from the second list of treats the other 5% of the time; choose something only occasionally, when you really need something sweet, you’ve had a bad day, you can’t take it anymore without something sweet (or whatever you need to tell yourself. ). Just do it sparingly.

Do this, too:

Make sure you eat small portions (whether it’s from list 1 or 2).

NO second helpings.

Substitute wherever you can. (We’ll get to more on that soon.)

And you can get creative.

And even sneaky to eat less and healthier.

Here are a few ideas:

– Eat veggies raw, as a side to your sandwich or soup (try sliced carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, beets, turnips, etc.).

– Add extra veggies to your healthy sandwich (like fresh spinach, broccoli sprouts, kale, slivered carrots, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, onion, and mushrooms).

– Do breakfast for dinner. Two eggs with two slices of toast (no more than 60 calories each) comes in at an average of 260 calories. (And it’s easy on the wallet, too.) Throw in a cup of fresh sliced strawberries to satisfy your sweet tooth (plus, you’ll get more nutrients and add some fiber, too.)

– Eat more low-calorie soups in the winter; just opt for tomato based soups, instead of creamy, heavy soups. Tip: Be careful what you eat with it; it’s easy to go overboard with crackers or grilled cheese sammies.

– Eat one apple 30 minutes before your evening meal; you’ll be full and won’t want as much food (plus, you’ll get more fiber).

– Eat fruits, and veggies, that are higher in water content to feel fuller.

  (A. Fruit examples: watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, grapefruit, pineapple,      oranges, plums and blueberries.)

  (B. Veggie examples: Lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.)

– Eat more fiber. You’ll feel fuller. And your body will get rid of the insoluble parts. (Yep, but that’s a whole other article.)

– Don’t eat late; try to eat at least 4-5 hours before you hit the sack. This will give your body time to burn some of the calories (especially if you can get in a little exercise, like a walk with the dog or playtime with the kiddos).

And, I know you know this, but always drink lots of water to stay hydrated and feel full.

Why designing your own diet might work for you…

When I owned a weight-loss consulting business, I learned something about most people:

Most people know what to eat, how to prepare it, and about portion control.

THEY JUST DON’T DO IT.

Are you nodding in agreement?

If so, don’t feel bad. It’s pretty common.

But, here’s the simple key to weight-loss: Eating healthy foods on a consistent basis.

Find what works for you, based on foods you like, and stick to it.

Tip 2

Substitute. And modify.

When you’re cooking, substitute whenever you can, and you’ll cut fat and calories.

You probably know all about substitutions.

But here are some examples, anyway:

  • Change full fat sour cream to fat-free sour cream
  • Instead of margarine, or butter, use a zero-calorie butter spray.
  • Use skim milk, instead of whole milk.
  • Use fat-free, or reduced fat cheeses, instead of full fat cheeses.
  • Use fat-free cream cheese, instead of regular cream cheese.
  • Use Splenda® products, instead of sugar.
  • Use fat-free and/or light salad dressings.
  • Use low-fat, or fat-free, mayo.
  • Use more lean turkey and chicken, instead of red meat and pork.
  • Use low fat cuts of red meat and pork when you do cook them (and trim all the fat off!).
  • Use flavored mustards on sandwiches, instead of high fat spreads.
  • Sprinkle flavored vinegars on salads and sandwiches, instead of using high fat dressings and spreads.
  • Make your own marinades, using flavored vinegars, spices, broths, and bouillon cubes. (Even diet cola makes a great slow cooker liquid, instead of water! Just add a little onion and garlic powder for a yummy flavor; it works best for lean beef and pork.)
  • If you need to make dessert for a special occasion (or a much needed treat), use fat-free yogurts, low fat or sugar-free ice cream, and fat-free whipped toppings, and sugar-free chocolate and caramel sauces.

You’re getting the picture, aren’t you?

Just by doing small, simple substitutions every time you cook, you can really reduce the calories and fat in your meals. And that = less calories you’ll consume.

Okay. Movin’ on to the next tip.

Tip 3

I hate to preach about this but…

You need to eat smaller portions. All. The. Time.

(Sorry, but you can’t get around this, if you really wanna lose weight).

This might sound simple, but it’s not always easy.

If you cook in big batches, that means:

You have second (and third) helpings to tempt you.

You have leftovers to tempt you.

You have wasted food, if it doesn’t all get eaten.

But wait…there’s a way to make it much easier:

Prepare single serving, individual portions.

Like:

  • Ramekin recipes
  • Healthy sandwiches
  • Muffin cup recipes
  • Individual foil recipes

By preparing reduced single portions, you do this:

You reduce portion sizes, which = less calories.

Plus…

A. You reduce second helping temptations (because there aren’t any!).

B. You avoid having leftovers that might be wasted. (Or worse yet, you eat them while binge watching your favorite evening shows!)

PLUS… You can customize your meal for weight-loss, then customize each family portion to their liking.

BINGO! It’s a win-win for you and your family.

Tip 4

Weight-loss is a head game you need to beat!

And you can!

It’s psychological. What you tell yourself matters.

Why?

Because if you set yourself up for failure from the get-go, you probably won’t be successful.

SO, change your resolution. Or DON’T make any.

Instead, set small goals. Small do-able goals.

Instead of saying you plan to lose 30, 40 or 50 pounds, break it down into small, do-able chunks.

Try this instead.

Say to yourself:

I’m gonna lose one pound per week in January.

Doesn’t that sound more DO-ABLE?

And if you do well with that, start over again with the same plan in February…

And every month afterwards until you reach your goal.

It won’t seem as daunting, it’ll be a reachable goal, AND you’re less likely to set yourself up for failure! (WOO-HOO!)

And as a plus, you might even lose more than one pound a week. But, if you don’t, then that’s okay.

You didn’t tell yourself you would.

You’re aiming for ONE pound a week.

Small but very reachable. And small steps add up!

Tip 5

Don’t kill yourself at the gym, if you hate the gym!

And if you’re like most busy moms, you might feel guilty about taking time away from your kids to work out there.

Solve it by including them and finding more exercise related stuff to do.

Because what I told you about eating holds true for exercise, too!

Small increments add up.

So… do what you enjoy. So you’ll do it. Stick with it. And not hate it.

You won’t stick with it if you hate it.

SO, do sneaky bursts of exercise (you enjoy) that add up!

Here are some examples:

  • Instead of planning to walk for 30-40 minutes each day, build up your time in small increments.
  • Park farther away from your workplace, so you’ll have to walk farther to get there.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible and for every single errand.
  • Instead of sitting, stand in place at your desk, and march while you type or do research.
  • Take a brisk 15-20-minute walk on your lunch break BEFORE you eat lunch. (You might find you don’t wanna eat as much to un-do the progress you just made.)

Here are a few more sneaky exercise ideas:

  • If you have a dog, walk your dog regularly… and every single time he needs to go out (that adds up!).
  • When you’re home, walk around the house, or yard, while you’re talking on the phone.
  • Buy a rebounder, or exercise bike, and use it while you catch up on your favorite show.
  • Have a basketball goal? Challenge your kids to a fun game of hoops.
  • Like tennis? You can find an empty outside wall to hit balls against. It’s fun, and it’s a good full body exercise.
  • Ask your kids if you can jump rope with them, and turn it into a little competition; let the winner pick a charity for your next donation or choose your family’s t.v. shows that evening.
  • Introduce your kids to some active games they’re not familiar with, like maybe kickball, kick-the-can or tag, then play with them.
  • Go bike riding as a family, then have a picnic in a favorite spot (with healthy sandwiches, of course!)
  • Introduce your kids to more historical places, museums, and zoos; by showing them around, you’ll teach them more AND you’ll all get more exercise as you explore.

You see why you might do this more and for a longer period?

By not telling yourself you HAVE to go to the gym, you might just get more exercise, burn more calories, and have fun doing it.

You’re not setting yourself up for failure if you quit the gym.

You’ll get more exercise, without even thinking much about it.

And that, combined with sensible eating, can help you lose more weight.

Now hear me out on this, please: IF you enjoy more formal exercise, then go for it! It’s great for you and will help you reach your goals. But it isn’t required.

As long as you do S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G. Period.

Just move.

Exercise can be what you enjoy. And it can add up to equal success.

Following these five tips can help you reach your weight-loss goals.

Because you might stick to it  longer.

And that might mean you’ll lose more weight this year.

Who knows? You might not need any weight-loss resolutions ever again.

Cheers to that!

XOXO

 


How to Get Your Full Day’s Worth of Veggies in One Meal (And you might lose some weight, too!)

Think: How many veggies did you eat yesterday?

One? Two? None?

Well, don’t feel bad. ‘Cause you’re not alone.

Turns out, most of us don’t.

Back in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control released a report, that showed that only a handful of folks eat the recommended amount per day.

If you want to, you can look at this chart to see where your state stands on veggie consumption. (California was at the top (not surprised); my state of N.C. was a little over midways down, and Mississippi was at the bottom.)

One thing’s for sure; we all need to eat more veggies!

Why don’t people eat more?

Here are my guesses why:

  • They don’t like them (my husband doesn’t 🙁 ).
  • They don’t have easy access to them.
  • They can’t afford them.
  • They don’t know how to prepare them.
  • It’s too time consuming too cook. (It’s just easier to grab something quick or fix a quick meal.)

Your excuse might be one I listed. Or it may be something else.

So, I’m gonna share my secret with you.

This is how I get most of my veggies for the day(often in one meal!).

(And it’s sooooooo easy.)

We all know about the USDA food guide pyramid.

And you might know about the Healthy Eating Plate that Harvard’s School of Public Health  developed.

They both give a range of recommendations. And they change them sometimes, too.

The Healthy Eating Plate  advises that the more you can eat, the better.

But, the way I see it, you need anywhere from 3-5 servings minimum; and up to 9 servings per day is best. Yikes!

Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? And that’s why most folks fall short of that goal.

So, here’s a sneaky way for you (AND the fam) to get more veggies.

  1. Eat a sandwich. (Fixed the right way.)

That’s right. One sandwich, with a couple of sides.

Fixed the right way, you can get your whole day’s recommendation in one meal.

Now, let me clarify: You’ll probably get the lower end of what’s recommended, so you can eat more later if you really wanna ramp it up.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Choose your bread; a healthy whole grain bread that’s 120 calories or less.

2. Add a healthy protein, like lean chicken or turkey.

3. Add a reduced fat cheese slice, and that’ll give you some calcium and protein.

Now for the stars: Add the veggies.

And don’t skimp. Pile ‘em on.

Here’s a good example of what to add:

  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Fresh kale leaves
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced tomato (hey, this is actually considered a fruit by some and a veggie by others)
  • Broccoli sprouts

That’s 4 veggies (and one fruit) just on your sandwich!

Now, add your sides to eat with your sandwich.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sliced raw carrots
  • Crunchy radishes
  • Colossal green olives (with pimentos)
  • Sliced beets (cooked or raw)
  • Sliced raw turnips (They taste like radishes, if you’re a radish lover. You can cook ‘em, if you want. I cook mine, add one packet of Splenda®, then top it with a little apple cider vinegar. And it’s yum!)
  • Roasted/steamed asparagus

Boom.

If you add at least three veggies as a side, you’re eating seven servings in one meal.

And here’s another suggestion: Add a cup of low-calorie tomato soup and you’re getting another serving.

Or, of you love veggie soup, eat a cup of that, and that’ll really boost your veggies for the day! (There’s a quick, easy, yummy recipe on my blog).

How’s that for easy?

And convenient?

Not to mention tasty!

SO, next time you’re ponderin’ what to have for lunch, fix a veggie infused sammie, with a few side veggies.

You’ll get more veggies in your diet.

Feed your body more nutrition.

AND… since veggies are naturally low in calories, you might even see a lower number on the scale. (Woo-hoo!!)

It’s a win-win all around.

Now, let me give you a little advice, ESPECIALLY if you’re not used to eating veggies: DON’T eat too many too quick!

You’ll need to gradually add more each day. (If you don’t, you may end up spending your day in the bathroom ;), so take it easy at first.)

Need a grocery list? You can print this out and take it to the store.

And you can start being healthier by lunch time tomorrow.

_________________________________________________________________________

Grocery List for Sammies & Veggies

Bread Choices (Check labels: 120 calories or less or cut in half):

  • Whole grain sandwich thins
  • Whole wheat pita bread (small loaves)
  • Whole wheat sub rolls (small or cut in half)
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns
  • Low calorie whole wheat loaf bread

Protein Choices (I prefer nitrate free deli meats):

  • Lean deli chicken
  • Lean turkey slices
  • Lean roast beef slices
  • Lean deli ham slices

Reduced Fat Cheese Choices:

Reduced fat cheese slices, like Sargento®, come in these varieties:

  • Provolone
  • Swiss
  • Colby-Jack
  • Pepper Jack
  • Medium Cheddar

Veggie Choices that are Great on Sammies:

  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes (all varieties)
  • Red Onion
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Sliced Bell Pepper (red and yellow)
  • Seedless cucumbers, sliced
  • Shredded Carrots

Veggies for Sides (Pick a few each trip):

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Fresh or Frozen Green Beans (roasted or sautéed)
  • Cold green peas (yes, like you see on the salad bars)
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Fresh cucumbers (sliced and marinated in balsamic vinegar)
  • Pickled Veggies: Dill pickled cucumbers, sweet pickles (made with Splenda®), okra, artichokes, beets, small baby corn
  • Asparagus, fresh or frozen (You can roast it in a 400 degree oven after spraying it lightly with olive oil cooking spray and adding a pinch of sea salt. You can even microwave it if you’re in a hurry.)
  • Sweet potato (1/2 baked)
  • Black eyed peas (warmed, and swirled with a spoonful of Ro*Tel® tomatoes)
  • Tomato soup

_________________________________________________________________________

Oh, and are you a tomato lover, like me? Then try this quick tip:

Slice a fresh tomato, or take ½ canned diced tomatoes (drained) and place them in a ramekin (sprayed with cooking spray). Season with salt and pepper, to your liking. Top with ¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese, Colby-Jack, or Pepper Jack; bake it in a 350-degree oven until warm and bubbly, and the cheese is melted. It will give you another serving of healthy veggies, kinda like a tomato soufflé but easier.

Tip: If you don’t have one, buy a good quality vegetable peeler; you can add slivers of veggies easily to your sandwiches.

And, you might wanna add some sliced fresh fruit, too; try pears, apples, oranges, kiwis, and sliced strawberries.

I love a turkey sandwich with a slice of reduced fat Cheddar cheese and a few slices of pear or apple. Yum!

Voila!

Just by adding a few veggies to your sandwich, and eating a few veggies as sides, you can ramp up your veggie consumption.

Without cooking.

(And you know that raw veggies have more nutrients than cooked ones anyway, right?)

Why not let this be your New Year’s Resolution to eat more veggies?

And what could be more simple or easy?

PLUS…. Sandwiches have these additional benefits:

  • They’re budget friendly.
  • Ingredients can be bought in bulk.
  • Ingredients can be bought and stored.
  • AND…sammies can be customized to your likes and your family’s likes, too.

It’s a win- win:

  1. You might lose weight.
  2. You might save money (instead of cooking big meals).
  3. You won’t be stuck in the kitchen cooking.
  4. You won’t have lots of leftovers to worry about (or throw away).
  5. You can customize them for even your pickiest eater.
  6. And… you’ll get more veggies.

Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Woo-hoo!


Sugar-Free Foods that Fool You (And How to Avoid the Trap)

This might be a little surprising to you; maybe even a tad discouraging.

Especially if you’re a sugar free caramel syrup fan.

And I am! I’m right there at the top of the fan list!

But I want to show you something that may surprise you.

And this almost made me cry.

Turns out, one of my favorite sugar-free caramel syrups has MORE calories than a yummy prepared queso sauce I sometimes buy.

Yes. You read that right ☹.

This particular sugar-free caramel sauce has more calories (and carbs) than queso dip.

Surprising? Yes.

And, unfortunately, there are other SF products out there that’ll fool you, too.

Here’s my point.

Look at the label on this sugar free caramel syrup:

Here’s a rundown of the nutrition information for one 2 tablespoon serving:

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 0 grams (At least that’s good!)
  • Sodium: 65 mg
  • Total Carbs: 25 grams
  • Sugars: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams 🙁

That’s a lot of calories and carbs for one 2 tablespoon serving; especially knowing that it’s sugar free. Yikes!

Now, look at the queso dip I bought:

Here’s a nutrition run-down for one 2 tablespoon serving:

  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Sodium: 490 mg (ouch!)
  • Total Carbs: 5 grams
  • Sugars: 4 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

Let’s compare them:

  • The sugar-free caramel syrup has 10 more calories per serving and 20 more carbs!
  • The queso dip has 1 gram of protein, while the SF syrup has none; that’s not much, but at least it’s a tad.
  • The sodium is off the charts for the dip; the sugar-free syrup has waaayyyyy less.

But the big picture here is the calories and carbs; the other stuff isn’t really surprising, right?

You have to read labels, girlfriend. And most folks do.

Except with one exception: sugar-free foods.

Most people think that sugar-free foods are always low in calories.

They’re NOT. And this is a good example.

If you’re watching your calories and carbs, buying sugar-free items can help.

But read the labels. And compare. While you’re in the store. And before you leave.

The calorie count might surprise you.

Yes, I do like that caramel sauce. But, I have a new go-to sugar free caramel sauce that has no calories, carbs, or fat.

If you wanna check it out, it’s made by Walden Farms and you can find it here 

or on Amazon.

Just remember: Sugar-free foods can fool you. Read the label. Before you pay.

There are lots of great alternatives out there to make us sugar-free lovers happy! And with a little research, you can easily find them.


How to Eat a Quick, Low-Calorie Meal AND Feed Your Family of Six for Less than Five Bucks (All at the Same Time!)

Let’s be honest.

Losing weight can be expensive.

Especially when you have a family of four… or six. (Cha-ching.)

So, when it comes to finding ways to meet your low-calorie needs, and feed your large family on a budget, you’re sometimes at a loss for a good meal idea.

I got ya. So…

Wouldn’t it be great to come up with a meal that can do all that and this, too:

  • Be easy to prepare.
  • Be easy to find and purchase.

AND be a favorite of everybody in your house.

There is a meal that can meet all those needs.

But you might not think about fixing it for dinner.

So, what is it? (Have you guessed?)

Drum roll, please…. It’s eggs. With a side of whole wheat toast.

Only eat it for breakfast?

Then, here’s why you need to re-think it.

With giant superstores like Walmart, and even the newer grocery chains like Aldi and Lidl, you can ALWAYS find eggs at a good price; they’re often less than a buck for a dozen.

And one dozen can feed six people (at 2 per serving).

Then, when you buy a loaf of whole-wheat bread that’s a store brand, you’ll probably only spend an average of $1.50 per loaf.

And there’s about 20 slices in your average loaf.

Just over half of that loaf can provide a serving of two slices to six people (12 slices).

And that even leaves you with eight extra slices for more servings (in case you have an extra hungry little munchkin at your table.)

Are you listening?

I mean, really, how many meals can provide you with all that value?

AND low calories to help you with your diet, too!

Look here:

1 Egg = about 70 calories*.

2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread= about 120 calories*.

So, for two eggs and two slices of bread, you’re only eating 260 calories*!

Not bad for a whole meal. AND it only cost you pennies to make.

Still hungry? You can add one more egg.

That adds another 70 calories for only 330 total calories.

Another plus?

Eggs are high in protein (about 6 grams per egg*) and low in carbs (less than one half gram per egg*).

What else can you ask for?

This: Eggs are versatile. You can scramble them, cook them over easy, make an “egg in a hole” or even an egg and bacon muffin cup.

One more thing: YOU can’t use real butter, or margarine, on your toast for this to work. You need to use zero calorie butter spray. (LOVE my butter spray!)

BUT… yes, there’s a but. You still should watch this stuff; you CAN’T pour it, you have to spray it.

One spray has nearly a ½ calorie, so that would add up if you ended up coating your toast in it.

Do you wonder how they can call it zero calorie spray? There’s a law that allows companies to list it as zero calories when it really has a tiny amount. Read about it here.

(OKAY now, that’s not using butter, it’s using zero calorie butter spray on your toast!)

Wanna add some simple additions to your eggs for very few calories?

Then, try this:

  • Add a tablespoon each of diced tomatoes and onions (about 5 calories).
  • Add one tablespoon of nitrate-free real bacon bits (about 25 calories).
  • Add one – two tablespoons of chunky salsa (about 5 – 10 calories).
  • Add one tablespoon of chopped avocado (about 25 calories).
  • Add 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese (about 35-40 calories).

See? You’re adding flavor but not many calories. Woohoo!

How’s that for a low-cal meal on a budget?

You can do this one night a week to save money AND calories.

Want one more tip?

When I’m cooking eggs, I hate it when I get a tiny piece of shell in them when I crack them.

It’s a pain in the butt to get out, right?

Well, here’s a little trick to make it easier: A grapefruit spoon.

With the serrated edges at the top, you can easily grab that little piece of shell and pull it right out. (It’ll also help you get those gross little white squiggly things out, if you want to.)

Neat, huh?

So, enjoy your eggs and toast any night of the week.

You’re feeding your family, while sticking to your budget.

And losing weight at the same time.

Now, that’s smart weight-loss.

*Nutrition information is approximate.

 


7 Ways to Make Your Sandwich Low-Cal, Healthy, and Budget Friendly (Bonus: There’s a low-fat baked green tomato recipe included!)

Nothing beats the convenience of a sandwich for an easy on-the-go meal.

With no measuring, weighing, or counting, a sandwich can be a dieter’s best friend.

Especially when it’s stuffed with healthy, low-cal ingredients.

Another plus?

Sandwiches can be budget friendly and feed big families.

Sandwich Benefits
You’ve seen how those ready to microwave, low calorie food meals help with weight-loss.

But you don’t like the price… especially if you’re feeding more than one.

A sandwich is not only cheaper, it offers other perks, too:

  • It’s a compact meal that’s easy at home or on the go.
  • It’s easy, and quick, to prepare.
  • It can be customized for each family member.
  • It makes calorie counting a snap; just a quick tally and you know how many calories you’re eating.
  • It’s easy on the wallet; you can buy ingredients in bulk, making meals cheaper.

And with one quick grocery trip, you can buy enough sandwich making supplies for a week of meals.

How’s that for convenience?

Look at more benefits:

  • It’s cheaper than eating out.
  • It saves time on meal preparation.
  • It prevents wasted leftovers you might just throw in the trash.
  • It’s a low-cost solution to calorie counting vs. pre-packaged frozen meals.
  • With the right ingredients, it’s a healthy low-cal meal that provides all the nutrition you need.

So, here’s the big question: How can sandwiches be more nutritious and still be yummy?

And here’s your answer.

Try the following tips for a quick, nutritious, low-cal sandwich:

1) Choose Bread Wisely
Thank goodness, we have more than white Wonder® Bread on the market now.

Bread varieties are amazing! You can choose from white, rye, wheat, pumpernickel, potato, oat, and more.

Plus, it comes in all sizes and shapes; that makes choosing even easier.

But, even though that’s great, it poses another problem; some of those breads are waaaayyyyyy too high in calories.

Plus, some of them are super-sized.

Not good when it comes to calorie reduction.

So, you have to be careful. And read labels.

When buying bread, you can make it easier by looking for these two things:

1.      One hundred percent whole wheat bread, rye bread, or pumpernickel.

2.      The calorie content should be 60 calories, or less, per slice. (So, for example, one bun shouldn’t be any more than 120 calories.)

If you do that, you don’t even have to worry about the bread; just the ingredients.

Look at these good bread choices:

  • Sandwich thins that are 100 calories per serving.
  • Thin breads that are 40 calories per slice (available in wheat and other varieties).
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns that are 120 calories, or less, each.
  • Small whole-wheat pita pockets that are 100 calories or less. (Be careful here. Check the label carefully; it often gives the calorie count for one half of the loaf, instead of the whole pita.)
  • Look for low-carb flour tortillas available now; they make a yummy wrap for less calories and carbs.

Here’s a budget tip: Look for healthy store brands. They’re cheaper than national brands but offer the same great taste.

And many store brands are less than two bucks; that’s around 30 cents per bun for six buns. Can’t beat that, especially for a large family.

2) Skip Creamy High-Calorie Condiments
Skip These:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Creamy full-fat dressings
  • Creamy horseradish sauce
  • Oil based dressings

Try these, instead:

  • Mustard-based condiments
  • Light vinaigrettes
  • Flavored vinegars
  • Squirt of fresh citrus juice
  • Fat-free / Low fat dressings
  • No oil dressings
  • Ketchup
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Horseradish mixed with fat-free sour cream
  • Salsa, red or green

Sandwiches will never be boring, with so many condiments available. (Woo-hoo!)

And you can get creative… I love making my own condiments and toppings.

And, yes, condiments can be a bit pricey, BUT remember, they’ll top lots of sandwiches.

Look for store brands, too; they’ll be a little cheaper. And when you make your own, make extra and store it for later.

3) Reduced Fat or Fat-Free Cheese
It’s lower in fat but not flavor. Look for:

  • Real cheese that’s reduced fat (50-60 calories per slice)
  • Extra thin cheese slices (less than 50 calories per slice)
  • 25 Calorie single cheese triangles (great sandwich spreads)
  • Fat-free cream cheese singles

Another bonus? Low-fat and fat-free cheeses are lower in cholesterol.

What? You don’t like cheese prices?

Here’s a tip to save $: Buy cheese when it’s on sale and freeze it.

If it’s wrapped/stored properly, it should last up to six months. More bang for your buck!

4) Lean Nitrate-Free Meat
We’ve all heard that added nitrates in meats might be harmful to your health. So, it’s probably best to avoid them whenever possible.

If you can’t, then eat them in moderation.

But choose lean deli meats over high fat choices.

Turkey, and chicken, are good choices.

And you can also buy lower fat roast beef and even ham.

But, SKIP these: Fatty meats such as pastrami, pepperoni, and salami.

And do you love hot dogs?

I’m from the South, and they’re still a favorite of folks.

But, it’s a good idea to opt for these hot dog choices:

  • Nitrate-free dogs
  • Turkey dogs
  • Low-fat all beef dogs (If you just have to have beef.)

The turkey dogs, and lower-fat choices, will give you waaaaayyyyy less fat/calories than regular hot dogs.

And, yes, they’re more expensive, but not when you consider:

1. You can feed your whole family on one pack (in most cases).

2. Your family’s health.

Want to reduce the sodium content in your deli meats?

You can rinse the slices under water, and then pat them dry between two sheets of paper towels.

Are you a vegetarian?

Or reducing your meat consumption?

Then you can substitute the reduced fat cheese for the meat, if you want. That’ll also give you protein you need.

And you won’t be sacrificing flavor.

Savings tip: You can also buy meats in bulk and freeze; just make sure it’s wrapped properly.

I checked, and deli meat should last up to two months in the freezer.

That’s great for your budget.

5) Not Just Ho-Hum Lettuce
Lettuce might be your normal go-to for your sandwiches, but why don’t you try something different that’s healthier?

Instead, try these yummy options:

  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Clover sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Red Cabbage (Try marinating some slices in fat-free dressing before adding it.)

These add different flavors, and textures, for very few calories. And more nutritional benefits.

6) Tasty Veggie Additions

These veggie additions are healthy, low in fat and calories, and add variety.

Try one (or all) of these yummy options on your sandwich:

  • Try using a vegetable peeler to add fresh beets and carrots.
  • Add some thin slices of radish, or fresh mushrooms, for more flavor, with practically no calories.
  • Add a few tasty olives (black, green, or stuffed with pimentos, garlic, or onion).
  • Add healthy red onion slices. (I’ve read they have more antioxidants than white ones.) Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, add both.
  • Add a little sauerkraut; it’s healthy and yummy.
  • Try different varieties of sliced red, yellow, orange, and green peppers.
  • Add some fresh slices of jalapeno for a little kick.
  • Add 2 or 3 slices of fresh avocado (go easy; it’s healthy but a little high in calories)
  • You can also add a juicy, flavorful, thick slice of tomato; you can choose from red, orange, or yellow varieties.

OR

You can bake up some low-fat “fried” green tomato slices to spice up your sammie.

(Here’s a quick recipe.)

Healthier “Baked” Fried Green Tomato Recipe (for your sandwich or just to munch on)

Ingredients:

•          2 large green tomatoes

•          ¾ cup all-purpose whole-wheat flour

•          ½ teaspoon salt

•          1/4 teaspoon pepper

•          1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)

•          1/4 cup skim milk

•          3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (or Panko bread crumbs)

•          Olive oil cooking spray

Instructions:

Step 1: Slice tomatoes 1/8 inch thick.

Step 2: On a large plate mix flour, salt, and pepper. Mix yogurt and milk together in a separate bowl, and put bread crumbs on a third plate.

Step 3: Coat tomatoes with the flour mixture, then the yogurt – milk mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs.

Step 4: Place coated tomatoes on a cookie sheet and spray liberally with cooking spray on both sides. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 7-10  minutes per side (depending on your oven).

Step 5: Remove from oven. Add the tomatoes to your sandwich. (YUM!)

Budget Tip: If you can’t grow these in your own garden, let your gardening lovin’ friends know that you’d love to take their extra veggies. (At some point, they’ll get tired of canning and be ready to give them away!)

7) Salt Alternatives

Instead of using salt, try a salt-free alternative.

Or you can try toppings, like these, for added flavor:

  • Black pepper or other pepper varieties
  • Herbs, such as oregano, cilantro, parsley, and basil
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder

Or, hey, just leave your sandwich naked; you’ll experience the flavors of all the fresh ingredients.

Whatever ingredients you choose, you won’t be bored.

With so many healthy ingredients on the market nowadays, you could easily eat a different sandwich for every meal.

Every. Single. Day.

Now, do you want something to go with it?

When a Sandwich Isn’t Enough

You can add a low-calorie side that won’t destroy your calorie budget.

But chew on this thought: You need to add smart sides, without second helping temptations; just like you’re doing with your sandwich.

Forget about huge sides with lots of servings; that  makes it hard to measure/count your calories!

And can you really resist a second helping?

It’s so much easier to choose a side with an easy calorie count. An individual side.

How to choose sides:

  1. Choose sides that are one whole serving (like one apple or one steamed piece of squash).
  2. Choose sides that are packaged as single servings.
  3. Choose sides that are so low in calories, you can eat as much as you want; you can try celery, thinly sliced cucumber slices, or lettuce topped with flavored vinegar.

Try these sides with your sammie:

o   One apple, pear, or orange.

o   One single serving of prepared fruit, such as diced peaches, pineapple, mandarin oranges, mixed fruit, raisins, or applesauce.

o   One bag/serving of 100-calorie nuts.

o   One microwavable single-serving, low-calorie soup.

o   Sliced carrots, radishes, and bell pepper slices.

o   Low-fat dill pickles or sweet pickles (sweetened with Splenda®).

o   One small cucumber, sliced thin and marinated in flavored vinegar.

o   One single serving of reduced calorie chips or pretzels (buy the single pre-packaged servings, so you won’t be tempted to eat a whole bag!)

o   One individual packaged serving of low-fat cottage cheese. (Tip: Make it better by adding some diced celery, chopped onion, and one teaspoon of fat-free/light mayo.)

Healthy sandwiches, combined with a single serving side can be your ticket to healthy, easy weight-loss (that’s budget friendly, too).

Who knows? You might become hooked on this healthy, convenient way of eating.

A bonus might be a lower number on the scale.

AND more savings in your piggy bank :).