Drink seltzer water
Attention Millenials: Sparkling water was a thing long before you discovered La Croix. Grandmothers know it as seltzer water or mineral water, and they understood its power to add interest and flavor without adding pounds. This is a diet “trick” we should all steal from older generations, says Jill Weisenberger, MS, a registered dietitian and author of The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition, adding that sparkling water is a good alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, helping you stay hydrated and satiated between meals. “At parties, alternate alcoholic beverages with seltzer water,” she says. “To make it more ‘fun,’ ask for a twist of lime, but always start with water and end with water.” Hint: Not only will this help you slash empty calories from booze, but it is also one trick to avoid binge drinking.
Serve shrimp cocktail as an appetizer
Children of the 70s will remember the ubiquitous cups of shrimp salad or cocktail served before any “fancy” meal. While the presentation left something to be desired—what was that mystery matter stuffed in the bottom of the glass anyhow?—the idea is a good one, Weisenberger says. “Fill up first on lower-calorie foods, like steamed shrimp,” she explains, adding that it’s high in satiating protein, which will keep you from gobbling everything in sight when the main course is served. Just be sure to skip the high-cal, sugary dipping sauces that are often served with shrimp. (And you’ll probably want to steer clear of this 70s style shrimp cocktail served… in green Jell-O.) Or incorporate shrimp into your main dish with these recipes just like Grandma used to make.
Snack on cucumbers and baby carrots
Cucumbers, carrots, celery, and other staples of veggie platters are a dieter’s classic for a reason. “Eating volumetric foods—foods you can eat a lot of for relatively few calories—is a way to create a feeling of satiety, or fullness, while keeping the calories low,” says McKenzie Flinchum, a registered and licensed dietitian and founder of The Flexible Dietitian LLC. “The physical volume of food is what fills us up, regardless of calories, so eating vegetables allows you to get full off of fewer calories.” In addition, fruits and veggies are packed with fiber, another nutrient that fills you up—just one of five major health benefits from fiber.