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Different Ways to Cut Calories and Lose Weight

Low Calorie Foods

Buy reduced calorie foods: low fat dairy products, light mayonaise, light salad dressings, lean lunch meats, egg substitutes, low fat spaghetti sauce, and low calorie snacks and desserts.

Smaller Portions

Avoid supersized meals and beverages. Reduce portions of foods a little at a time and eat more slowly.  See "The Tablespoon Approach" for more information.

More Low Calorie Vegetables

Eating more low calorie vegetables will help you fill up on fewer calories.  See "Starchy and Low Calorie Vegetables" to see which vegetables are low in calories. "The Plate Method" gives an easy way to increase vegetables portions. The only way to consistently eat more vegetables is to find recipes for them that you really like.

Meal Replacers

Meal replacers (Slim·Fast®, Optifast®, etc.) are good weight loss tools for some people. Proper use of these products requires knowing how many containers to drink per meal. For many people, one container may not provide sufficient calories to substitute for an entire meal. See a registered dietitian for assistance.

Calorie Diets

Some people do best with a written menu that tells them exactly what to eat and how much. If this is the approach you prefer, see a doctor or dietitian who can determine how many calories you need to lose weight safely and can give you healthy weight loss diet.

Weight Loss Medications

These may be appropriate for some people. Several medications suppress appetite; one medication prevents fat absorption. All medications have potential side effects. Discuss them with your physician.

Physical Activity

Physical activity in combination with diet is the most effective way to lose weight. In addition, physical activity is the single most important factor in keeping the weight off once you have lost it. See other handouts in this series for more information.