Ok. You won’t cut calories from every meal, true. But typical summer food being what it is, you can cut an incredible amount of both calories and carbs by simply changing one small eating habit:
Ditch the bun on your burger or your hot dog.
Saying “hold the bun” can reduce the calories of a quarter-pound burger by a whopping 141 calories and cut out a shocking 25.5 grams of carbs. It will also reduce your sugar intake by 4-6 grams, depending on what brand of buns you buy. However, in spite of the mega-savings in the calorie and carbohydrate arenas, losing the bun will have little effect on the actual nutritional value of your meal. Compare the nutritional content of a quarter pound burger either with or without bun:
The only real changes are in the B vitamins (thanks to “enriched” flour) and let’s face it—we really shouldn’t be relying on carb-heavy bread for our daily ration of B vitamins anyway.
So what can you replace that sugary, starchy hamburger bun with? Well, you could simply eat your burger hamburger-steak style with a knife and fork, but if you miss the feel of holding a juicy, warm burger in your hands here’s a suggestion: sandwich your burger and fixin’s between two chunky servings of lettuce. Not only will it hold your burger together like a bun, the crunch of the lettuce provides an interesting sensory contrast. (Or if you’re really feeling adventurous, try two grilled portobello mushroom caps!)
You can use the same trick to cut the calories and carbs in other meals, too. Nearly any savory sandwich such as tuna or chicken salad, deli meat sandwiches, and so forth work perfectly well with a lettuce “bun.” You can also turn erstwhile sandwiches into wraps, with their contents rolled into lettuce leaves rather than sandwiched between breads.
If you’re a serious griller or indulge in summer sandwiches often, this simple substitution can save you hundreds of calories per week…effortlessly.