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Dieting often consumes our lives because we are trying to make too many changes all at once—low-calorie and low-carb together, or high-protein and dairy-free together. Dieting can become this monster that we fear and loathe, a reason why so many diets fail after only a few days.

Taking small steps and making small changes can really add up to a less stressful, more successful weight loss. An easy way to make small changes in your diet is to cut some calories by making smarter food choices. Here are some ways to cut 100 or more calories without compromising a healthy quantity or quality of food:

1. Addicted to ice cream? If you substitute a half-cup of light vanilla ice cream for the half-cup premium or regular vanilla, you can save 160 calories.

2. Order a turkey sandwich with mustard instead of a tuna salad sandwich with mayonnaise and save 100 calories.

3. Get a garden salad with fat-free dressing instead of a Caesar salad, saving 250 calories.

4. Dining out? Cut 100 or more calories just by skipping the bread basket at your favorite restaurant, ordering an appetizer and salad instead of an entrée, or eating half your entrée and bringing the rest home for later.

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5. Order one dessert with several forks to share with family and friends.

6. Whatever you do, try not to super-size those fries at your favorite fast-food restaurant. You can save yourself 300 calories by ordering a small fry instead of a large.

7. It’s easier to drink calories than to eat them, which is why you should be cautious about drinking sugary juices or sodas. Instead of a Minute Maid Cran-Grape which has around 300 calories in a standard bottle, try a Grape-flavored Propel water beverage with 20 calories in the same size bottle. Go for the can of Diet Coke as opposed to a regular Coke and save 150 calories.

8. Stock your kitchen at home and at work with healthy, low-calorie snacks. One rice cake with 1 tsp of peanut butter spread on top has 70 calories. Two cups of microwave popcorn has 94 calories, one sugar-free ice cream bar has 25, and a cup of fat-free frozen yogurt has 81.

Instead of trying to take one giant dive into the dieting pool, try wading in from the shallow end. Think about it in these terms: when you are moving to a new home, do you pack everything you own on the morning the moving van is scheduled to pull into your driveway? Probably not. You pack one room up at a time over a few weeks so the move goes smoothly. Why should a diet be any different? Make small, realistic changes in your diet. It isn’t too difficult to cut out unnecessary calories from our lives.

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