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By George Louris
A basic tenet of any weight loss program is that you have to eat fewer calories than your body uses. If you are anything like me however, you probably don't have the time, patience, desire or discipline to count calories. I could think of much better uses of my already limited free time. For those who regularly follow my blogs or articles, you'll know that I prefer to stick to some basic guidelines when I eat and to listen to my body.

There's a myriad of ways to lose fat and maintain that fat loss. Eating more fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and lean meats, nuts, and beans is a safe and healthy one. One of the staples in my daily diet and fight against fat loss is to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I possibly can. Fruits and vegetables are part of a well-balanced and healthy eating plan.

Of course eating fruits and vegetables has many benefits other than helping you with your fat loss goals. Diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of fiber and provide essential vitamins and minerals and other substances that are important for good health.

Back to calorie counting. Being conscious of your calories or how much food you're actually consuming doesn't necessarily mean that you have to eat less food. One way to lower your overall caloric intake is to substitute low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. Because fruits and vegetables contain a good amount of water and fiber, you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

Here are some of the things I do to help keep the overall number of calories down (with the added benefit of increasing my fiber intake, thus making me feel fuller for a longer period of time).

We've heard it a million times before, 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day'. That still hasn't changed. In fact, evidence continues to mount that skipping breakfast will not only derail your fat loss plan but can actually contribute to weight gain. A couple of things you can do during breakfast with fruits and vegetables:

-Skip the cheese on your eggs and replace it with some mushrooms, spinach,

or onions. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to your breakfast with fewer calories than the cheese.
-Your mom probably made you do this when you were a kid and moms know best. Add fruit to your cereal. In fact, you should cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl for some blueberries, strawberries, bananas or peaches. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories.

One of the worst things about lunch for most people is that feeling of post-lunch sluggishness. The following tips will not only help you reduce calories, but should help ward off that sleepiness you typically feel after lunch:

-Whether it's on a burger, a wrap or on a burrito, skip the cheese (if it's a burger, skip the bun as well). Substitute the cheese and bun with vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, or onions. You'll consume less calories and feel full faster.

-If you're a soup lover, add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won't miss those extra calories.

While you never want to skip dinner, you do want it to be your lightest meal of the day.

-Skip the pasta or rice and instead add a cup of chopped vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, or peppers.

-Watch the portion sizes. If vegetables, fruits and whole grains aren't taking up the majority of your plate, time to readjust your portions. Try replacing some of the pasta, rice, meat, and cheese with greens, steamed broccoli, asparagus or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat. BUT remember to use a normal or small-size plate, not a platter. The total number of calories that you eat still counts, even if a good proportion of them come from fruits and vegetables.

Snack Time
Eating five to six meals a day has become a staple saying in almost any article you read regarding diets and eating right. Use those in between meal snacks as an opportunity to eat a fruit or snack on some pre-cut, pre-washed carrot sticks. Throw in 6-8 almonds and you have a great in between meal snack that will keep you feeling full until your next full meal.

If your goal is fat loss, be careful not to just add fruits and vegetables to your existing diet. The key is substitution. Although it's true that fruits and vegetables are lower in calories and higher in fiber than many other foods, they do contain some calories. If you start eating fruits and vegetables in addition to what you usually eat, you are adding calories and may gain weight. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of some other higher-calorie food.

Forget the calorie counting, using smart strategies like substituting with fruits and vegetables is a great way to achieve your fat loss goals without having to take out the calculator or lookup the caloric value of a food. If a strategy is not simple and easy to implement, most people won't follow it for too long and in the long run consistency in your exercise and eating habits is the key to success.

Article Source: http://www.upublish.info

About the Author:
George Louris
George is author of The BusyGuy's / BusyGal's Workout for Fat Loss, is a Certified Trainer with over 20 years of experience & a former multiple fitness studio owner who has taken his life's passion for helping others achieve their goals online at the http://busyguyfitclub.com

Keywords: weight loss, fat loss, nutrition, calorie counting, diets

**NOTE** - George Louris has claimed original rights on the article "A Key Weight Loss Strategy: Substitution" ... if there is a dispute on the originality of this article ... please contact us via our Contact Form and supply our staff with the appropriate details of dispute.


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