10 Quick Calorie Cutters

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

What if you could lose weight without pain, deprivation or starvation? Guess what ... You can!

Try these quick calorie-cutters to shed some of those unwanted pounds.

Remember, to lose one pound of fat, you must create a 3,500-calorie deficit. The easiest way to do this is to decrease your caloric intake and increase your physical activity. By incorporating one or two of the following tips into your everyday life, you can lose one pound every week -- and still eat most of your favorite foods.

1. Buy healthy frozen pizza varieties instead of takeout or delivery pizza. You'll save at least 100 calories and 15 grams of fat.

2. Try sorbet or light ice cream instead of the full-fat variety. Based on a 1-cup serving, you'll save yourself 100 calories, but still enjoy a refreshing treat.

3. If you must have a soda with your meal, only drink half of it. Or ask the server to add more ice than soda. Better still, let water be the drink of choice at mealtimes. Or, for that extra kick, try sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime. Cutting calories couldn't be simpler, or more refreshing! By simply substituting water for soda with lunch or dinner, you can eliminate 100 calories without batting an eye.

4. Instead of high-fat, high-calorie snacks like chips and cookies, try light microwave popcorn. You'll avoid empty calories and shave inches from your waistline. Or, plan ahead for the midday munchies by carrying fresh fruit or cutting up cucumbers and celery to take to work or play. Enjoy them with a mini-cup of cottage cheese or low-fat cheese slices for a tasty treat that's healthy. Make sure you're getting some protein, carbs and good monounsaturated fats. This will help you avoid uncontrollable cravings later. Rice cakes with peanut butter or pita bread with hummus ... sound yummy? They are, and they save you 100-200 calories over candy bars and cookies.

5. Wine, beer and mixed drinks are high-calorie saboteurs. In addition to decreasing your inhibitions, they decrease your chances of successful weight loss. So, limit them and you'll avoid 200-300 needless calories.

6. Instead of totally eliminating sweets from your meal plan, allow yourself to enjoy one of your favorite low-calorie treats once a week. This will keep you from overeating due to deprivation, and could eliminate a pound a week!

7. When you need a meal in a hurry, don't pull into a fast-food restaurant. Try some of the low-fat, frozen meals in your grocer's freezer -- these are even available at convenience stores with microwaves on hand. You could save yourself 300-500 calories over a fast-food meal.

8. By substituting fish for chicken or beef two to three times per week, you'll avoid storing an excess 300 calories. Fish, available in many varieties, can be prepared in a jiffy and provides you with omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical to proper cell function and healthy skin.

9. Opt for baked french fries -- instead of fried -- and you'll save yourself about 150 calories. Bake them at home with low-fat cheddar cheese for a delicious treat that satisfies cravings.

10. Take the time to eat your food more slowly, and focus on savoring each bite. By slowing down, you could save yourself more than 100 calories per meal. That's because about 20 minutes after you start eating, the brain receives a signal from the stomach that tells you you're full. It's not a matter of quantity at all. So, chew your food slowly, stop eating before you're full, and you'll easily shed unwanted pounds.

Dr. Andrea Pennington shares insights & life coaching tips for living an empowered life. She is a wellness expert, empowerment coach & medical journalist seen on Oprah, CNN, the Today Show and many more. She is President of Pennington Empowerment Media and Editor in Chief of, a premier online resource for skin health and beauty. Learn more at