How to do it
If you do go out to eat, there are a few things you can do to keep your calorie intake low. Order a salad or starter as your mam meal and ask for it to be brought out with the main courses. Ask for any sauces or dressings to be put on the side - often they can be full of calories. Drinking plain, sparkling water can help you feel fuller, without the calories.
[panel style="panel-primary" title="Check Ahead" footer=""]Some restaurant chains have nutritional information for their menus on their websites. Have a look before you go out - you may be able to find a low-calorie starter or side dish that you can eat without breaking your fast diet.[/panel]
What Not to Eat
What you can and can't eat really depends on the diet you choose. It doesn't take an expert to realize that foods such as sweets, biscuits and chips are high in sugar, fat and empty calories. However, you may be surprised to find out how many calories are in some packaged foods that look healthy.
Your label-reading skills will come in handy. Do not be fooled by packets that say things such as 'reduced sugar', 'enriched' or 'low-fat' on the front. Flip them over to find the truth in the small print. Some products that are labelled 'fat-free' often have added sugar to make up for the fat that's been removed. They may even have more calories than the full-tat version! 'Reduced sugar' means that the amount of sugar has been reduced from the previous version of the product - it can still have a lot of sugar.
We often forget to count the calories in our drinks, but some types can have as many calories as a small meal! Stick to plain still or sparkling water during your diet - both are calorie-free. Make sure to check the labels on bottled water, though. Some have added sodium and flavoured types often have added sugar - and calories.
When you radically reduce your calorie intake, it can leave you feeling tired. You need to eat foods that will give you slow-burning energy all day. Avoid foods that give you a quick energy rush, followed by a crash. Do a search for the 'glycaemic Index' (Gl), of foods on your diet. Foods with a low Gl will give you longer-lasting energy, while high-GI foods burn off quickly and leave you tired.
No matter which fast diet you choose to follow, it is likely that natural low-calorie foods will make up a big part of it. Even after you have reached your target, slicking to a diet high In these low-calorie stars will help you keep off the weight.
Lean and mean
You will need plenty of protein and the best way to get it is from lean meats, fish and legumes. However, some meats are higher in calories than others, so a good rule of thumb is: the leaner the better. Meat with fat or skin will always have more calories than meat without it. For example. 100 g (3 ft oz> of grilled, skinless chicken breast has about 140 calories. while the same amount of rump steak has about 185. Fish is a great source of low-calorie protein, but some types have more calories than others. Oily fish such as salmon are higher in calories than white fish such as cod and haddock.
You may have heard about 'zero- calories foods'. These actually do have calories, just so few that the energy required to chew and digest them cancels out whatever is in the food itself. Eating these foods can help you feel full even when you are getting very few calories. Celery, cucumber, broccoli, spinach, watercress, and swiss chard are all very low in calories and packed with vital nutrients. In fact, most vegetables are extremely low in calories. Eat them raw or steamed to avoid adding any calories in the cooking process.
Water Is the drink of choice for most fast dieters - after all. it is calorie-free. However, studies have shown that drinking unsweetened green tea can help you burn calories. Drinking several cups a day will help boost your metabolism and bum extra calories.
by Chris Ching
With a nick name of Chris Smile because of the warm smile on her face all the time :) Believes that by empowering the public to have more information and knowledge in healthcare, we will have a better healthcare environment and experience. View all articles by Chris Ching.