With Christmas and the new year just having passed us by, more than a few of us are experiencing tighter pants and snugger-than-usual clothes. The extra few kilos are inevitable given that the holidays are best celebrated with good food, enjoyed in the company of friends and family.

Nonetheless, it is time to get back in shape (or at least try) before round two begins during Chinese New Year !

Dieting does not mean that drastic changes need to be made to your daily intake. Just a couple of changes or two in your food choices could make a world of difference in your daily calorie intake. Believe it or not, you need not refrain completely from your favourite foods to lose weight -- where's the fun in that? We teach you how you can still indulge in your favourite foods and still save on a surmountable amount of calories so you don't completely blow your diet.

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Catfish mango salad from Imperial Chakri Palace

Salads: Cream dressing vs vinegar dressing

Contrary to popular belief, salads won’t necessarily help you lose weight, especially if it’s one that has more thousand island sauce than greens. Caesar salads taste great but no wonder you’re not seeing any result despite eating only that. Its dressing is made up of more mayonnaise than anything else. Salads only work to help you cut down on the calories if it’s the vegetables you’re eating accompanied by only a tiny bit of dressing for enhanced flavour, not the other way round. 

We recommend: If a salad full of green leafy vegetables is too hard to swallow, maybe a mango and catfish Thai-style salad would whet your appetite more. They pack more flavour and excitement with every forkful without the need for heavy dressings. Salads are great outlets for creativity. If greens aren’t your cup of tea, try experimenting with nuts, fruits, and maybe even cold cut meats.

Click here to read our review of Imperial Chakri Palace, KLCC

 

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Squid ink pasta from Gobo Upstairs Lounge & Grill

Pastas: Carbonara vs Aglia Olio

Cutting out carbs completely from your diet is not quite as feasible an idea as you might think. You’ll end up craving for nothing but carbs and binging on loads of it come your cheat day instead, which is counter productive to say the very least. The key to efficient dieting is moderation. Pastas don’t do as much damage to your diet as the sauces it comes in. The key then is to opt for a less sinful sauce to go with your spaghetti.

We recommend: Instead of a carbonara that is thick and creamy with saturated fat and butter, or a Bolognese that can come laden with oil to bring out the flavours of the tomato, try an aglia olio. Pasta is tossed only in a light mix of olive oil and other herbs for robustly flavourful mouthfuls, yet is much lower in calories, and good for your heart too. For the more adventurous, squid ink pasta is all the rage at many restaurants these days with its mysterious black shade courtesy of the squid ink.

Click here to read our review of Gobo Upstairs Lounge & Grill


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Oven-baked American lobster from La Risata

Seafood: Thermidor vs Oven-baked

A very popular way of eating seafood, be it lobsters, oysters or even escargots, is to stuff it with a creamy mixture that consists primarily of cheese and butter and grill it into a melty, gooey, cheesy heaven. While that is a mouth-watering way of preparing seafood, it also happens to be incredibly fattening given the decadent amounts of cheese, butter and cream going into your seafood.

We recommend: The freshest seafood is best eaten on its own without fancy condiments or gravies. A favourite method of preparation with a lot of seafood enthusiasts is oven-baking it on its own because doing so not only lets the flesh retain its sweetness, it adds a smoky touch to the topnotes as well. By oven-baking any form of seafood from prawns and clams to crabs and lobsters, you let the seafood speak for itself when it comes to flavour and texture and save on unnecessary calories.

Click here for our review of La Risata and its amazing Italian fare.

 

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Villa Danieli thin crust Piemontese pizza

Pizzas: Regular pizza vs thin crust 

Pizzas, the ultimate bachelor comfort food. It is easy to obtain and even easier to eat with almost no fuss when it comes to serving it or cleaning up after. Unfortunately all that white bread that makes up the base isn’t the healthiest choice if inches are what you’re trying to lose off your waist.

We recommend: In Italy, pizzas are traditionally eaten thin-crusted. Now you know how Italians keep in shape despite it being the norm there to have a whole pizza to yourself; sharing is frowned upon because it indicates you don’t enjoy the pizza enough to be able to finish it all by yourself. Thin wafer-like bases not only result in every bite being a more satisfying crunchy mouthful, it carries only probably a quarter of the amount of calories of a doughy pizza.

Click here for our review of Villa Danieli


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Lime Sorbet from Gobo Upstairs Grill & Lounge 

Desserts: Rich sugary sweets vs fruity refreshing sorbets

A gooey soft-baked brownie topped with a vanilla ice-cream is always hard to say no to but as yummy as a sweet deal like that sounds to end a meal, is how difficult it is to get rid of the cellulite on your thighs and that muffintop spilling over the top of your jeans.

We recommend: Sorbets are the very tragically overshadowed cousins of everyone’s favourite ice cream. Made often from fresh fruit juice and comprising mostly of crushed ice and natural flavours, it is as healthy as desserts go. It is low in fat, low in artificial sugars, and low in guilt!

 

Swapping out just a small part or two of your favourite foods allows you the permission still eat them and grants your body the freedom of less fat, sugar and salt for a newer, healthier you.

Tags: healthy, health, calories, weightloss, diet, carbs, cutting down