Easy Ways to Cut 100, 250, Even 500 Calories a Day

Looking to lose weight without feeling hungry? Skip the diet. Instead, try this trick: Eat just a little bit less.

Scientists at Harvard and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge found that people who lowered their calorie intake lost an average of 13 pounds in six months no matter what kind of diet they were on. "This is the best weight-loss news in a long time," says Frank Sacks, MD, nutrition professor at Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study. "If you don't like what you're eating, you're not going to stick with it. These findings give you flexibility to trim a bit here and there and still enjoy your favorites."

In fact, by nixing just 100 calories a day, you'll lose more than 10 pounds a year. Up your cuts to 250 and you're down 26 pounds. Want to lose faster? Ditch 500 calories daily and you'll drop those pounds in half the time. We found 10 so-easy ways for you to trim a little but save a lot.

30 Giant Calorie Bombs-Busted!


At Breakfast

Cut 100 Calories:

  • Use skim milk in place of flavored Coffee-mate in your two morning mugs.
  • Order bacon, not sausage, with your eggs.

Cut 250 Calories:

  • Trade a reduced-fat blueberry muffin for instant oatmeal topped with 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries. Bonus: You'll stay satisfied all morning.
  • Measure out your breakfast cereal; overestimating by just 1/3 cup can add 100 calories.

3 More Ways to Cut Calories at Breakfast

Healthy, 300-Calorie Breakfast Ideas


At Lunch

Cut 100 Calories:

  • Toss your salad with 1 tablespoon of dressing until every lettuce leaf is coated. You'll get away with using half the usual serving size.
  • Top your burger with onions, lettuce, and tomato and skip the cheese.

Cut 250 Calories:

  • Pick turkey over tuna in your 6-inch sub.
  • At the salad bar, reach for shredded Parmesan instead of cheddar and skip the bread.


6 More Ways to Cut Calories at Lunch

Healthy, 400-Calorie Lunches


At Dinner

Cut 100 Calories:

  • Instead of two slices of medium pepperoni pan pizza, choose thin-crust.
  • Making meatballs? Mix half the amount of ground beef the recipe calls for with half as much cooked brown rice.

Cut 250 Calories:

  • Having fajitas? Fill up one tortilla rather than three, then eat the rest of your fixings with a fork.
  • Opt for broccoli chicken over sweet-and-sour, and for steamed brown rice, not fried.

5 More Ways to Cut Calories at Dinner

20-Minute Healthy Dinner Recipes

All Day

Cut 500 Calories:

  • Instead of a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha for your afternoon pick-me-up, order coffee with a little milk and a dusting of chocolate.
  • Use your grandmother's Joy of Cooking and you'll save an average of 506 calories over three meals, according to a recent Cornell University study. The secret: Smaller portion sizes and lower-calorie ingredients were called for back then.

-- Melissa Daly


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Eat pizza, chips and ice cream-guilt-free! Check out our annual Healthy Food Awards picks in the July/August issue of FITNESS magazine, on newsstands now.