How to Save 500 Calories a Day

Article posted in: Nutrition
jar of peanut butter with spoon

It’s not rocket science: Consume less calories, lose more weight. Yet life is delicious. And we live in a land of plenty. Cutting back isn’t easy—especially if you don’t realize how many calories you’re eating per day. While this article is dedicated to helping you cut calories, know this: Research has shown that those who keep a journal of what they eat on a daily basis are more likely to eat less than those who don’t journal. So whether it’s in a notebook or simply in your smartphone notes, start logging what you eat.

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In the meantime, here are four ways to cut calories (at least 500) each day:

1. Have Seltzer, Not Soda


One 20-oz regular can of cola* contains 250 calories (not to mention 69 grams of sugar!). One bottle or can of sparkling water contains zero calories. Don’t like the taste of plain water? Seek out a sparkling option with natural fruit extracts. These flavored alternatives don’t add any calories or sugar yet give your beverage a soda-like taste. But what if you drink soda for the caffeine? Coffee and tea contain zero calories. Even if you add a teaspoon of sugar, that’s four grams compared to 69. If you like cream, just stick to one Tablespoon (35 calories), which is considered an Extra. Remember: Whole milk, cream and half-and-half are approved foods on South Beach Diet.

*Nutritional information collected from on October 21, 2018.

2. Have Fruit, Not Juice

fruit cut calories

Fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are just some of the nutrients found in whole fruit. So you would think that fruit juices—especially ones that say 100% natural or 100% juice—would contain all of those precious components. Unfortunately not. Consider this: According to Consumer Reports, a cup of orange juice has 112 calories and 21 grams of sugar. A medium-sized orange has just 65 calories, 12 grams of sugars and three grams of fiber. While sugars in juice are naturally derived, the problem is that juice lacks the fiber of whole fruit, which helps your body absorb juice sugars more rapidly. We also recommend choosing lower sugar fruits, such as berries, if you’re following South Beach Diet. These count towards your daily Extras.

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3. Eat Peanut Butter, Not Chocolate

peanut butter cut calories

If you love chocolate, you’re going to crave it. But instead of eating a chocolate bar* (with 220 calories and 24 sugars), try snacking on a tablespoon of peanut butter, which is about 90 calories. Even 100% natural peanut butter (made entirely from peanuts with no additives) contains one gram of natural sugar. That, combined with the satisfying texture of and satiety of peanut butter, and you’ll get in some healthy fats while you “indulge.”

*Nutritional information collected from on October 21, 2018.

4. Chew Gum, Not Chips

cut calories

It’s 8:30 p.m. and you want a snack—even though you just finished dinner an hour ago. Instead of giving in, try occupying your mouth with some sugar-free gum to cut calories. In her book Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Jan Chozen Bays M.D. says we entertain our mouths by eating. Even if we’re not hungry, our mouths crave excitement. The saltier, the crunchier, the more complex the flavor, the happier our mouths are (but not our waistlines). Gum can keep our mouths busy so we’re not consuming mindless calories.