Cutting calories. Lowering your risk of disease. Stabilizing your blood sugar. They all sound like herculean tasks when you think of them as general goals.
Break down these goals into daily habits like cutting 50 calories here and making a healthy swap there, and suddenly it’s simple to slim down and slash your risk of diabetes. Use these Eat This, Not That!-approved, science-backed diet hacks to dodge hundreds of calories by the end of the day and lose weight easily:
Dine by Candlelight
Taking time to set the mood may increase your meal satisfaction, making you less likely to overeat. A recent study of fast food restaurants found that customers who dined in a relaxed environment with dimmed lights and mellow music ate 175 fewer calories per meal than if they were in a more typical restaurant environment.
Eat the Whole Thing
Harvard researchers found that swapping three glasses of fruit juice a week with three servings of whole fruit was associated with a 7 percent risk reduction for Type 2 diabetes.
Indulge in Snaxercise
A recent study found that men and women with Type 2 diabetes who engaged in a 6-minute exercise “hors d’oeuvres” three times daily—before breakfast, lunch and dinner—saw lower post-meal blood sugar levels than they had in baseline testing.
Use Smaller Bowls
Researchers found that people who were given larger bowls, served and ate 16 percent more than those given smaller bowls. Take advantage of the visual illusion with belly-friendly mini bowls or ramekins.
Unplug Before You Chow Down
Resist the urge to eat or drink while you watch the tube or check your email. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat while distracted eat 10 percent more in one sitting than they would otherwise.
Eat Before You Eat
Eating an appetizer of a broth-based soup or even an apple can reduce total calorie intake over the course of the meal by up to 20 percent, according to a series of “Volumetrics” studies at Penn State. Make sure you grab for the red, not the green, apple—researchers find that red versions are one of the best fruits for weight loss.
Shop the Freezer Aisle
Save money on your favorite produce in the freezer aisle, year-round! Research shows that frozen fruits and veggies, which are picked and prepped at their prime, can be even more nutritious than the fresh stuff. Just steer clear of anything with added sugar, syrup, or sauces.
Spice it Up to Slim Down
Piperine, the compound that gives pepper its distinct taste, may also have the profound ability to interfere with the formation of new fat cells—a reaction known as adipogenesis, resulting in a decrease in waist size, body fat, and cholesterol levels.
Just Add Cinnamon
Good news for carb-lovers: A series of studies printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a heaping teaspoon cinnamon to a starchy meal (like your morning oats) may help stabilize blood sugar and ward off insulin spikes that can lead to hunger, cravings and weight gain.
Nix Morning Snacks
A recent study found that mid-morning snackers tended to snack more throughout the day than afternoon snackers, resulting in compromised weight loss efforts. Nix your mid-morning pick-me-up and dodge mega calories. When you dive into the snack drawer in the afternoon, make sure you’re choosing some of our Eat This, Not That!-approved good snacks to eat well and stay on track.