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Counting calories is one of the most popular ways of dietary management for weight management. It is not always easy to do when you're out or pressed for time, may be in a situation like dinner party, hiking, etc.
Here are some basic guidelines to follow when straight calorie counting is impractical.
1. Eat foods that are filling and low in calories. That means, as often as possible, your meals and snacks should include whole grains, such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and oatmeal, as well as legumes, such as lentils and other beans. And don't forget to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
2. When you eat meat, cut out fat and cut down portion sizes. Choose lean cuts of meat and modest amounts about 3 or 4 ounces per serving (which is roughly the size of your palm).
3. Avoid fried foods. Frying foods adds fat and calories. For stove top cooking, it's better either to stir-fry foods in a non-stick pan lightly coated with a cooking-oil spray or to braise them in broth or wine. Baking, broiling, and roasting are also great options.
4. Choose low-fat or fat less dairy foods. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of protein and calcium, but the whole-milk versions of these dairy products are very high in fat.
5. Avoid fast foods. Hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries, and other fast-food staples tend to promote weight gain for two reasons. First, they are high in fat, calories, or both. Second, the" value meals" available at many fast-food chains are often excessively large and tempt you to overeat.
6. Avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient snacks. Chips and other deep-fried snacks are high in fat and therefore calories. But even snacks labelled" low-fat" are often high in calories because they contain large amounts of sugars and other carbohydrates.
7. Watch what you drink. Regular sodas, fruit juices, and, especially, alcoholic beverages are high in calories.
Source: health beat (harvard medical school)