Healthy Eating Hacks

For those of you interested: I don’t really need to lose more than maybe 5-10 pounds. I’m pretty physically active, but I love to eat. I “diet” only to conserve calories so I can eat more without needing to widen my doorways.

But whatever your reasons to cut calories, how about sharing some of the sneaky ways you either fill up, or eat something that tastes really sinful.

Here’s three of mine:

Nutella Oatmeal
Nothing beats plain oats for filling you up, but they can taste kind of meh. Once you add enough nuts and berries to feel like you’re eating food, the calories can get a bit high.

I cook one serving of oatmeal (150 calories) and stir in half a tablespoon of Nutella (50 calories). The end result tastes like no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, and keeps me satisfied until lunch.

Whatever-you-want Salad
I’m a sucker for “salads.” Not the bowls of veggies - the gloppy mixtures of mayonnaise and whatever meat is left over in the fridge. Switch out the mayo with nonfat Greek yogurt. Tastes the same, fraction of the fat and calories, and tons of protein.

Chocolate Protein Powerbomb
Protein keeps your tummy satisfied and helps build muscle. Mix a third of a scoop of chocolate-flavored protein shake powder (I like American Whey) into a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt. Chocolate yogurt. Low-cal. Protein city.
What else you got?

If you’re the type to crave a cheese danish, try the following:
Toast half of a whole-wheat bagel, or one slice of whole-grain bread
Top with 2TBSP low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel, I think it’s called) and 2tsp. strawberry all-fruit.
Voila! The taste of a strawberry/cream cheese danish without all the fat, and with a lot more protein and fiber! (Therefore much more satisfying).

Funny you should mention it, I am the type to crave a cheese danish. I’ll give it a try!

I eat full-fat everything, and instead, watch carbs. Everything tastes good, and is filling. The carbs I do eat are whole grain mostly, so they are not only pretty tasty, but they fill me up.

Dried fruit (that I dry myself). No added sugar. It’s like apple, pear, and cherry candy, but with vitamins, fiber, and very few calories.

Dried fruit is kind of high in calories, actually… 1/2 cup raisins is 200+ calories; about the same calories as 4 cups of grapes.

I am a big fan of Bacon Salt. Sprinkle a little bit on green beans, and pretend you cooked 'em with bacon! nom nom nom.

I love the Fat Free Fudge Jell-o Pudding snacks… they kill a sweet tooth and are only 100 calories. Plus I rarely even finish the whole thing.

Oh, and the 100 cal popcorn packs they have out there now are the best! Takes me a good 15-20 mins to finish eating it so its super satisfying.

Sounds good. I’ll have to give this one a try.

I’m not a dieter but I guess you can cut your fruit juice with water. Should reduce the sugar/calorie count.

Actually, the Sugar-Free Jello Pudding Cups are only 60 calories!! (But the 100 calorie pudding cups are 100 calories… go figure). Definitely a big fan. Sugar-free Jello is like 5 calories, but I do get bored of it. The Sugar-free Fudgesicles are good in the summer, only 40 calories! Edy’s Orange-and-cream fruit bar is 80 calories.

Popcorn in general is good for the munch factor. 30 calories per cup, plus whatever oil you use to cook it.

You can add a tablespoon or two of flax meal to every one of the recipes posted so far (as well as pudding) and add a super extra boost of fiber, Omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidants. I keep a bag in my freezer (keeps from going rancid too fast) and add it to whatever I can!

I found Walgreens quite often has sugar free Royal Jell-O on sale for 5/$1.00 and that fills me up.

Use fiber to fill you up. Americans are woefully (that’s my new favourite word) lacking in fibre

I gotta get me some of this.

Got another one I did last night. I love hellaciously-bad-for-you boxed meals like Hamburger/Chicken/Tuna Helper, Rice a Roni, Kraft Mac and Cheese. I won’t give them up for anything, but it seems like a huge waste of calories that I could be spending on cake.

Last night I made some of the multiple-cheese Rice-a-Roni, but added two bags of frozen veggies to it. Doubled the serving size, halved the calories. Too bad I didn’t have any cake around. :mad:

Oh, Gesturing Mildly, I so have to disagree with you that Greek yogurt can be substituted for mayo cause it tastes the same! Greek yogurt is splendid by itself or with something nommy on it, but it ain’t mayo! And it’s (Greek yogurt) hideously expensive here. I use half ‘light’ mayo and half regular in salads, or mayo and FF sour cream. But let’s move on before someone brings up Miracle Whip…

In baking, one can cut the fat in half by using half applesauce. I’ve had brownies made with pureed prunes, and you’d never know it.

Well, you’ve got a point. It doesn’t really taste the same, but I don’t put a ton of mayo in my salads, so it really just serves the purpose of getting it all wet (eeew).

I had a coworker who used to make cookies with applesauce or with canned pumpkin. I’ve never been brave enough, though.

[hijack]You can make your own Greek yogurt from any decent supermarket yogurt, preferably full-fat, although that goes against the spirit of this thread, I suppose. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth and place in the sink. Pour off any whey (the thin, water stuff), then dump the yogurt into the colander. Let it drain for a couple of hours. The longer you let it drain, the thicker it gets. Voila! Greek Yogurt! If you let it drain overnight, voila! Yogurt cheese!

I find that in cake, one can replace half the oil with applesauce, and it works fine. All applesauce still ‘works’, but doesn’t taste as good.

As I have an issue with craving McDonalds McMuffins, I came up with a MUCH healthier alternative.

Whole Wheat English Muffin, Morning Star Fake Sausage and a slice of fat free cheese (which isnt bad once its melted). If I have extra time in the morning I’ll cook up a little egg substitute with it also.

I like to replace the mayo with spicy brown mustard. It doesn’t taste the same, but it does taste delicious. My husband says it makes the whatever salad too dry though.

FYI, for a whole book full of eating hacks, check out Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.

It’s a thin little book with 64 “rules” to eating healthily. They’re not really meant to be followed dogmatically, more like guidelines and hints. Most of them fall out from his statement “Eat Food, mostly plants, not too much.”

The rules themselves consist of things like “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” and “Always leave the table a little hungry”, along with a paragraph or two of explanation.

I mix my oatmeal with a scoop of vanilla protein powder, it’s different but good. I never tried chocolate protein powder, but I guess it could be interesting. Your Nutella idea sounds really delicious.

Emily, chocolate protein powder is fantastic if you get the right kind. It’s sort of trial and error - the bad ones are really nasty.