With the new year finally being here, along with it comes the time for New Year’s resolutions. One of the top resolutions that makes most people’s list is wanting to lose weight.

Weight loss can be a tricky subject for some people since they are not sure where they should start.

Some people might think they need to do an extreme diet, while others may feel it is necessary to perform hours upon hours of cardio workout.

However, what most do not realize is that weight loss does not have to be extremely hard.

While physical activity is a great way to help people stay in shape, a person’s diet is the main key to losing weight.

To lose weight a person needs to be in a calorie deficit. In simple terms, a calorie deficit is when a person is burning more calories than they are consuming.

So, how can a person learn to eat in a calorie deficit? While being in a calorie deficit can become a bit technical with things such as tracking macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat), there are simple ways for people to decrease the number of calories they are consuming.

Here are some tips that can be incorporated into a person’s diet to help them lose weight.

The first tip that can help people lose weight is by drinking more water instead of sodas. Your average 20-fluid-ounce soda contains about 200 calories a bottle.

So, if a person drinks three sodas a day, that is 600 calories they have consumed, within a week they will have consumed 4,200 calories from just soda alone.

The extra calories from a soda in a person’s diet can really add up and cause them to not be in calorie deficit.

However, if they replace the sodas with water, then they will be consuming zero calories and a better source of hydration for their bodies.

Another tip that would help a person achieve a calorie deficit is simply by eating more whole foods, like fruits and vegetables instead of fast-food meals.

Many fast-food meals can equal up to 1,000 calories alone without any sauces or drinks.

On the other hand, most fruits and vegetables are considered high volume foods, meaning you can eat more of them for fewer calories.

They also provide a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber that can be extremely beneficial to the human body.

The last and probably easiest tip that can help a person be in a calorie deficit is to eat smaller portion sizes.

People tend to eat more than the recommended serving size of their food. Also, restaurants tend to give much larger portion sizes of their meals than normal.

So, by simply eating smaller portions of a meal or eating half of the food ordered at a restaurant and taking half home for another meal, it can help the person not consume as many calories.

These few tips are easy but useful ways to help a person lose weight without feeling the stress they may get from an extreme diet.

Another idea that can also help people lose weight is by finding healthy ways to eat their favorite meals.

Listed below are a couple different recipes of classic meals that have been made into healthier versions.

Give one of these recipes a try this week along with following the tips above and see how much you like it.

For additional information contact your local registered dietitian.

Healthy Spaghetti

1 spaghetti squash

48 ounces marinara sauce

16 ounces button mushrooms, sliced

16 ounces spaghetti

Wash spaghetti squash. Use a knife to cut slits all around the squash. Place in a slow cooker (optional: line the slow cooker with a liner or parchment paper) and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

When spaghetti squash is almost done, place mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave on high 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are softened.

Place marinara sauce in a saucepan on the stove top, add softened mushrooms (but not the liquid they released), heat on low until hot. (Alternatively, this can be heated in microwave.)

Remove spaghetti squash from the slow cooker, cut in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds and discard. Then scrape out the squash “noodles” into a bowl. Set aside.

Prepare spaghetti according to package instructions.

When done, drain noodles and add to spaghetti squash. Toss to thoroughly combine squash noodles with pasta noodles.

Serve noodles with sauce on top.

Healthy Turkey Chili

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 pound extra lean ground turkey or chicken (99%)

4 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes

1-1/4 cups chicken broth

Two 15-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed, drained

One 15-ounce can sweet corn, rinsed, drained

Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat.

Add in onion, garlic and red pepper, and sauté 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add in ground turkey and break up the meat; cooking until no longer pink.

Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt; stir for 20 seconds.

Next add in tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together.

Taste and adjust seasonings and salt, as necessary.

Garnish with anything you would like.

Makes six servings, about 1-1/2 cups each.

BENTLEY CUNNINGHAM is a senior dietetics major at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Load comments