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Your body needs a certain number of calories each day for you to function and keep doing your daily activities. After your body meets its needs, it stores extra calories as fat. Your weight remains steady when your body takes in the same amount of calories that it burns. To lose weight, you have to use up more calories than you take in.

Here are some tips for cutting back on calories:

  • Fill up on fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories.
  • Think of meat as a side dish. Choose low-fat versions, such as low-fat ground beef, ground turkey breast, and skinless chicken. Trim fat off of meats before cooking.
  • Avoid high-fat meats, such as organ meat, fried chicken, fried fish, lunch meat, sausage, and hot dogs.
  • Choose low-fat and nonfat dairy products.
  • Instead of whole eggs, try egg substitutes or egg whites only.
  • Use cooking methods with little or no fat, such as broiling, steaming, or grilling.
  • Chill soups and stews after you cook them so that you can skim off the fat after it gets hard.
  • When you bake muffins or breads, replace part of the fat ingredient (oil, butter, margarine) with applesauce, or use canola oil instead of butter or shortening.
  • Choose oil and vinegar salad dressings instead of creamy dressings.
  • Check the labels of "fat-free" cookies, candies, chips, and frozen treats. Some of them have more calories than the regular versions.
  • Try to limit soda, fruit drinks, and alcohol drinks. Drink water instead.

Tips for eating out

  • Order foods that are broiled or poached rather than fried or breaded.
  • Cut back on the amount of butter or margarine that you use on bread.
  • Order sauces, gravies, and salad dressings on the side, and use only a little.
  • When you order pasta, choose tomato sauce rather than cream sauce.
  • Ask for salsa with your baked potato instead of sour cream, butter, cheese, or bacon.
  • Don't upgrade your meal to a larger size.
  • Watch portion sizes. Share an entree, or take part of your food home to eat as another meal. Share appetizers and desserts.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

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