9 Ways to Tweak Your Diet to Lose Weight ...

Instead of changing your entire diet to lose weight, wouldn't you rather just find ways to tweak your diet? Making simple swaps can mean the difference between gaining or losing a few extra pounds. Adding some of these tweaks to your diet can help you lose weight without even trying! Follow these ways to tweak your diet for a fast and easy way to kick start your weight loss!

1. Before Meals...

First up is one of the easiest ways to tweak your diet...before you even eat! Before having a meal, drink a large glass of water and start with a garden salad with a light dressing. The water and salad will help you to feel fuller faster during your meal and will cause you to not eat as much as you normally would. This way you don't feel deprived that you had to eat less of your meal, you feel full and satisfied! Plus it helps to add more greens to your diet, which is never a bad thing!

2. Ditch White Bread

An average slice of white bread contains anywhere between 80-110 calories per slice. Although switching from regular processed white bread to less-processed whole grain bread won’t necessarily make much of a difference to your calorie intake, it helps later on. Whole grain breads contain more fiber, vitamins and nutrients. These types of breads satisfy you better and for longer than breads that are not made out of whole grains, so you won’t have to eat as much of them or eat as often to curb hunger. Plus your body can break them down easier than white processed breads so they don't get stored as fat!

3. Swap out Processed Foods

Gradually replace your current processed foods with fresh alternatives to help curb cravings and hunger. Highly processed foods tend to be low in nutrients, which causes your body to seek more food to find the nutrients it needs. So instead of eating processed protein bars in the morning, make a batch of your own! Same goes for things such as frozen waffles, breakfast burritos, or frozen vegetables!

4. Switch from Sugar to Sweetener

If you sweeten your coffee or tea with sugar, switching to a non-calorie sweetener is an easy way to ditch unwanted calories! However, I advise using a natural sweetener such as Truvia or Stevia over the chemical sweeteners like Sweet'n Low or Splenda, as natural alternatives do not contain dangerous ingredients. Natural sweeteners have 0 calories and will sweeten your beverage just as well as sugar would without the calories! You can also substitute them in your baking recipes.

5. Limit Dressing

Instead of saturating your salad in dressing, put the dressing into a cup and put your fork into the cup before taking a bite of salad. This will decrease your dressing intake by about 80 percent and you will still get the taste you crave with your salad! As a rule, you should always order dressing on the side if you eat a salad in restaurants, and pay attention to what the salad is topped with. Also opt for lower calorie dressings such as Italian and oil & vinegar.

6. Eat Slowly

Weight loss is usually all about portion control. If you still want to eat some of your favorite meals but also want to lose weight, try eating slower! Eat slowly, savor every bite, and pay attention to when your body begins to feel full. When you get your body's signal that you've had enough, sprinkle salt on the rest of your plate to avoid nibbling on the leftovers, or put the rest away in the fridge (if you're home). As your stomach shrinks, you will get full quicker and quicker on less food!

7. Substitute Butter for Margarine

Margarine is made from chemically produced hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, and has been linked with weight gain, slow metabolism, and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Thus, make sure to use butter instead of margarine in your meals, and an even better option is to use olive oil. Vegetable oils, especially olive oil, have health benefits such as lowering cholesterol that butter doesn’t have. Also try some "substitute" butters such as Smart Balance. They have less calories and fat but taste just as good!

8. Switch Your Condiments

Sandwiches are always a favorite among people, but they tend to pack on the calories depending on your condiments! Instead of slathering on some mayo, flavor your sandwiches with low-cal condiments like mustard or vinegar. Also try to add as many vegetable condiments to your sandwich as possible. They will help to fill you up and keep you from snacking on chips as a side!

9. Swap Ice Cream for Yogurt

Ice cream is definitely a favorite for the summer time, but so is frozen yogurt! By sticking with frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, you can save about 100 calories on average! So if you love your chocolate ice cream bars, swap them at the store for chocolate frozen yogurt bars! They are just as delicious but much healthier!

The key is to make sure that you don't feel deprived while you're dieting or else it won't last very long. This is why adding these simple tweaks to your diet could be one of the best ways to lose weight. They allow you to eat what you're already used to eating, while also subtly helping you to cut calories! What ways do you tweak your diet in order to lose weight?