How To Eat Better: 9 Quick Fixes For Common Diet Traps

We all have our diet busters: those foods we know aren’t exactly the healthiest choices but that we just can’t seem to resist. The good news is that you can still cut calories and fat without a major lifestyle makeover. Consider this: You can lose 10 pounds in one year by cutting just 100 calories a day — small changes really do add up when you're trying to lose weight.

To get started, keep it simple and make changes gradually, advises Mary Beth Kavanagh, MS, RD, a nutrition instructor at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland. "People try to make too many changes at once and they just can't maintain them," she says.

Below you’ll find quick and totally painless fixes for some of the most common diet traps. What are yours? Let us know in the comments and share your best tips for avoiding them with other Live Better America readers!

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  • Diet Trap: Fancy Coffee Drinks

    Mochas and lattes, can be loaded with fat and calories, but may still leave you hungry when you're done. <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Request nonfat milk in a 12-ounce latte instead of whole milk and save 80 calories and 9 grams (g) of fat. Hold the whipped cream in mochas and save 50 calories or so.

  • Diet Trap: Soda Pop

    Soft drinks are a major source of calories, with 12 ounces weighing in at 150 calories. Even worse, most vending machines and convenience stores offer larger sizes with even more calories. <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Switch to diet soda, unsweetened flavored waters or, better yet, drink ice-cold water with a squirt of lemon or lime juice.

  • Diet Trap: Cheese

    A 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese packs about 110 calories and 9 g of fat. <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Switch to reduced-fat cheese and part-skim mozzarella to save about 60 calories and 7 g of fat, yet still get the calcium you need for strong bones.

  • Diet Trap: Eating From The Bag/Box/Carton

    <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Handfuls of snacks add up quickly. Before you know it, you've eaten half the bag and 600 calories or more. Count your chips or crackers, place them in a bowl, and put away the snack. Read the nutrition label to find out what counts as a serving.

  • Diet Trap: Greasy Pizza

    <strong>Quick fix:</strong> Dab off about a teaspoon of oil with a napkin. From two pizza slices, you'll save 80 calories and 9 g of fat.

  • Diet Trap: Gigantic Restaurant Portions

    <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Ask your server to bring a doggy bag to the table along with your meal. Pack up half right away and enjoy as leftovers.

  • Diet Trap: A Salad Swimming In Dressing

    <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Request your salad dressing on the side, and try the fork-spear method: Dip your fork into the dressing with each bite and then spear the lettuce leaves. You can still make your salad as tasty as you like it.

  • Diet Trap: Fried Foods

    <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Try broiled chicken tenders instead of breaded and fried. Or make <a href="">homemade oven fries</a>. Slice potatoes into wedges, boil them until almost cooked, spray lightly with olive oil or cooking spray and bake until crisp.

  • Diet Trap: Dessert

    <strong>Quick fix: </strong>Think of dessert as a special treat — not a nightly affair. If you must have dessert, keep your portions in check, or go for a chocolate square instead of a candy bar. Or enjoy the sweet taste of <a href="">fruit for dessert</a>.

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