(BPT) – Did you make a New Year’s resolution to eat better this year? Or are you thinking you might need to make some lifestyle changes to get ready for the summer swimsuit season? Although it may seem like a daunting task, getting started on a weight management plan can be easy. A few simple expert tips can help you watch your calories so you can accomplish your healthy living goals.
From rich and calorie-filled menu items to family celebrations, it’s easy for healthy eating habits to get off-track this time of year. This can be especially true following the holiday season which is filled with parties and holiday cookies. In fact, 49.2 percent of respondents in a recent survey from Sweet’N Low said they lost control of their usual eating habits during the festive holiday season.
If you’re looking for easy ways to skip some calories without skimping on the fun, Dr. Keri Peterson, a New York City-based practicing physician and medical expert who appears regularly on the Today Show, CNN and Good Morning America, offers these simple suggestions to help manage your calories:
Watch your drinks – Do you know that some drinks contain as much as one-third of a dieter’s recommended daily caloric intake? Sugary, indulgent drinks may be in season but they are typically full of hidden calories. To get your sweet fix, replace the sugar in all your favorite drinks with a zero-calorie sweetener, such as Sweet’N Low. Your drink will be as sweet as you like it, but with fewer calories.
Bring a healthy dish to parties – If you’re bringing a dish to a party, impress your friends with something that’s both delicious and lower in calories. When researching options, look for appetizer and dessert recipes that are “under 100 calories” so that you and your friends can skip the calorie-overload and instead, focus on enjoying the festivities.
Take a walk – Don’t let the chilly temperatures of winter or the rains of spring put you in an exercise slump. If you can’t fit time for the gym into your schedule, take a quick walk around the block at lunch, park a little farther from the office or shopping mall entrance or wake up earlier and take a brisk walk before you conquer the day. You can burn about 150 calories during a 30-minute walk. As an added plus, exercise doesn’t just help you stick to your diet; it may also put you in a better mood.
Don’t sacrifice all the treats you love – Is drinking a vanilla cappuccino on your way to work your favorite way to start the day? If you are watching your calories, be mindful that many popular coffee shops sweeten those drinks with high-calorie sugar or syrups. For example, a typical, 1-ounce serving of syrup has 12 grams (3 teaspoons) of sugar! On the other hand, completely abstaining from the treats you love can sidetrack the most faithful of dieters. Rather than go unsatisfied, try reducing or cutting out the added sugar in your drinks by sweetening with a zero-calorie sweetener, instead. One great option is Sweet’N Low in the little pink packet. If you are making your own cappuccinos at home, try a lower-calorie Skinny Vanilla Cappuccino recipe at only 96 calories per serving. Another great option is a warm, soothingly-cool Thin-Minty Mochaccino (recipe below). With only 70 calories per serving it is one of Dr. Peterson’s favorites. For more, lower-calorie recipe ideas, health tips or information to help you keep your diet on-track, visit www.sweetnlow.com.
No matter what, it’s important to live and maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle that works for you all year long. For many people, just taking the first step toward healthier habits can be the hardest part.
“Starting small is OK, because even small steps are steps in the right direction,” Dr. Peterson advises. “Simply replacing the sugar in your daily coffee with a zero-calorie sweetener is an easy way to cut some calories from your usual diet and it can get you thinking about other ways to improve your health.”
Thin-Minty Mochaccino Recipe
(makes 4 servings)
1 1/4 cups hot, strong-brewed coffee
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 packets Sweet’N Low zero calorie sweetener
2 cups hot skim milk
Whisk coffee, cocoa powder, peppermint extract and Sweet’N Low in heatproof container until well blended. Stir in milk. Pour into 4 mugs and enjoy!