Getting into the groove of counting calories will make the supermarket an entirely different place.
For example, you can still enjoy a plate of pancakes, but you'll need to look for the best mixes and syrups within your calorie range. Look for great low-calorie options without added sugar: Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup has 100 calories per serving, yet Log Cabin Sugar-Free Syrup has only 35 calories per serving.
Making the right choice involves reading the labels carefully to determine which is best for you. Here are some simple supermarket shopping tips:
Soy vs. Dairy. Soy-based foods supply nutrition but are not essential for your body's health. The number of calories and amount of calcium and vitamin D in fat-free milk and light soy milk are similar. Ultimately the decision is up to you.
Butter vs. Margarine. If you want to avoid trans fat, choose butter over margarine. Either way you go, use them sparingly. You could also opt for something like Smart Balance, a non-butter option that does not contain trans fats.
Which eggs are best? Eggs have more cholesterol than any other food, and nutritionally brown eggs are identical to white eggs. Egg Beaters and other egg substitutes are a nutritious option. They use the egg whites and leave out the yolk, the primary source of cholesterol.
Which oil is best? Olive oil is actually no healthier than most other cooking oils. When choosing oils for cooking or salad dressings, your main health consideration should be avoiding hydrogenated oils because of their high levels of trans fat. Whether your oil comes from soybeans, safflower seeds, corn, nuts, or olives, they are all high in calories — 120 per tablespoon — so use them sparingly.
Candy, cookies, and chips. Here's where you simply need to choose wisely. Instead of potato chips drenched in saturated fats and oils, go for baked chips and salsa. Instead of double-stuff Oreos, try chocolate sticks dipped in light whipped cream. You can still enjoy sweet treats, but scale back on them and opt for lower-calorie alternatives.