If you are ringing in Canada Day by overindulging on an extra-long weekend, you might be concerned about your ability to get back on track, not to mention having gained a few pounds. The good news: It’s entirely possible to regain control of your diet without skipping meals, sipping smoothies instead of eating, or cutting carbs for days on end. Even better, it’s easy and sustainable.
If the needle on your bathroom scale creeps up Wednesday morning, those extra pounds will be mostly from water. Excess salt (hot dogs, barbecued ribs, potato chips) and carbohydrates (potato salad, corn, ice cream) cause your body to retain fluid.
If you blew through your calorie budget this holiday, take charge: Make small calorie cuts to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You won’t feel hungry or deprived, you’ll lose the post-long weekend bloat and you’ll be back on track by Friday. And if you make these calorie swaps stick long-term, you’re likely to lose a few excess pounds.
Instead of eating one cup granola with 1/4 cup berries and yogurt, pour less cereal ( 1/4 cup) and more berries (1 cup) into your bowl (save 200 calories).
Instead of adding maple syrup (1 tbsp) and raisins (2 tbsp) to oatmeal, try 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries (save 90 calories).
Choose a whole-wheat English muffin instead of a whole-wheat bagel (save 130 calories).
Pass on Tim Hortons breakfast sandwich with homestyle biscuit, sausage, egg and cheese in favour of Tim’s breakfast sandwich with English muffin, egg white and cheese (save 250 calories … and 600 mg sodium).
At Starbucks, opt for the oatmeal with fruit, nut and seed medley rather than the banana bread (save 200 calories).
Instead of eating a whole sandwich, have an open-face sandwich with only one slice of bread (save 100 calories).
Swap the cheddar cheese in your sandwich for one tablespoon of hummus (save 90 calories).
Toss 1/4 cup fresh raspberries into your entrée salad instead of 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (save 85 calories).
Instead of a jumbo beef hot dog (75-85 g), try a jumbo veggie dog (save 160 calories).
Make tuna or chicken salad with two tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt rather than two tablespoons of mayonnaise (save 88 calories).
Wrap taco fillings in lettuce leaves (butter lettuce works well) instead of in two 7-inch soft tortillas (save 170 calories).
Instead of serving pasta sauce on two cups of spaghetti noodles, ladle it over two cups of spaghetti squash (save 360 calories).
Cut an 8-ounce steak in half and save the other portion for another meal (for a New York strip loin, save 300 calories).
Skip the mashed potatoes (made with milk and butter) in favour of mashed cauliflower made with 1/2 teaspoon of butter or olive oil (per 1 cup save 120 calories).
Instead of starchy sides like rice or quinoa (1 cup), fill your plate with three cups of non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms (save 200 calories).
Instead of one cup of vanilla ice cream, indulge your sweet tooth with a frozen puréed banana (save 400 calories).
Snack on one cup of grapes instead of 1/2 cup of raisins (save 165 calories).
Snack on 1/4 cup of shelled edamame instead of 1/4 cup raw almonds (save 100 calories).
Instead of Triscuits (six), put cheddar cheese on (six) fresh apple slices (save 100 calories).
Instead of cooling off with a Freezie (66 g), try four whole frozen strawberries (save 30 calories and 2.5 teaspoons of refined sugar).
Instead of drinking 12 ounces of grapefruit juice at breakfast, eat 1/2 a medium grapefruit (save 80 calories).
Instead of Tim Hortons large coffee with double cream and double sugar, order your large coffee with single milk, single sugar (save 195 calories).
Instead of drinking 12 ounces of sweetened lemonade, dilute 1/2 cup (4 ounces) with sparkling water (save 80 calories).
At the bar, order a 12-ounce bottle of light beer instead one pint of regular beer (save 125 calories).