The weight loss equation looks simple: eating less plus moving more equals a smaller number on the scale. Putting that into practice isn't always so simple, though, especially when the rest of the family isn't going on a diet. Keep meal replacements handy to eat on the go or to stave off hunger as you're cooking for the kids. Thinking of your food intake in terms of 100-calorie increments also helps you track calories more easily.
Prepared low-calorie shakes fortified with fiber can fill you for breakfast or a quick, light lunch. Shakes satisfy a sweet tooth, too; a 100-calorie shake served icy cold can taste more like an indulgence than a meal replacement. Making your own shakes takes a little more time, but you get to tailor each shake to your taste. Flavored extracts, fiber additives and skim milk help keep homemade meal-replacement shakes well within the 100-calorie budget.
Meal replacement bars solve the problem of how to eat a bowl of cereal in the car as you drive the kids to school. Even the tastiest liquid meal replacement doesn't offer the satisfaction of chewing, and bars give you the pleasure of eating your meal instead of drinking it. Bars with whole grains, real dried fruit and protein-rich nuts pack a nutritional wallop into their few calories. You might even find yourself having to share your bars, as kids enjoy them as a healthy snack instead of a meal replacement.
Somewhere between a juice drink and a meal, smoothies contain all the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables in a travel-friendly form. Almost any fruit or vegetable can become a smoothie, so all you need is a blender and some ideas. Smoothies also give you a good chance to sneak in a serving or two of vegetables, as the bolder taste of the fruit conceals the mild earthiness of fresh greens. Choose lower-calorie fruits such as citrus, berries and melons to stay under the 100-calorie mark.
More of a mini-meal than a meal replacement, raw or blanched vegetables and dip supply a sizeable dose of fiber and vitamins without contributing many calories. If you prefer your vegetables crisply cooked rather than raw, blanch them and chill them before dipping. You can keep cut carrot sticks, celery stalks or asparagus spears in the refrigerator to use as a snack when you don't have time for a full meal or want to take the edge off your hunger. Try prepared dips and dressings, or use dry dressing mix with non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream for a lower-calorie alternative that's still full of flavor.
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