There are many simple changes you can make to dramatically decrease your intake of calories, fat and sugar. Try some or all of the following suggestions.

1. Choose 1% milk, nonfat yogurt, and reduced-fat hard cheeses over full-fat varieties.
These products have a lower fat content because they use milk that has had the fat removed or reduced. Avoid products that reduce fat content but then add a lot of extra ingredients, such as modified food starch and gums to supposedly “improve” mouth feel. As you can see, this one change alone can dramatically decrease your fat intake.

Whole milk has 8.0 grams fat per cup
1% milk has 2.5 grams fat per cup
You save 5.5 grams of fat per cup

Whole-milk yogurt has 8.0 grams fat per cup
Fat-free yogurt has 0.5 grams fat per cup
You save 7.5 grams of fat per cup

Whole-milk cheese has 9.5 grams fat per ounce
Low-fat cheese 2.0 grams fat per ounce
You save 7.5 grams of fat per ounce

2. Design your snacks around fruit.
Fruit is fat free, fiber packed, and full of all kinds of nutrients. Bananas are one of my favorites and should hold a special place in the hearts of persons with celiac disease. Believe it or not, the banana may have played an important role in saving the lives of many children with celiac disease. See the blog post, The Banana Diet for more information.

3. Make your beverage of choice water.
After all, it is calorie-free, fat-free and sugar-free! If you need something a bit jazzier than tap water, try seltzer water with a splash of cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime.

4. Use condiments that are naturally low in fat to flavor food.
Good choices include mustards, relishes and salsas (use these condiments sparingly though–they tend to contain a lot of salt). Steer clear of high-fat spreads and sauces made with butter, mayonnaise and sour cream.

5. Make your own tortilla chips instead of using the bagged variety.
They are super easy to make and by doing so you control the amount of oil and salt your tortilla chips contain.

Try this easy recipe:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie or baking sheet with foil. Cut corn tortillas into 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips and toss with a small amount of olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Bake until lightly browned and crispy. I make these all the time and they are delicious!

Copyright © Tricia Thompson, MS, RD

Originally published January 2009. Updated February 2, 2011.

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Five easy ways to cut calories, fat, and sugar