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Whatever your calorie requirement is in order to lose weight, become calorie conscious so you can better manage your calories this season by following these five calorie management tips:

1. Divvy up your calories for the day. Determine maximum calorie amounts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with snacks. If your calorie limit is 1,500 calories, limit meals to 400 calories each, leaving room for two 150 calorie snacks. Of course, make adjustments for your own individual diet plan and eating habits.

2. When dining out, look up nutrition facts ahead of time. Most major restaurants have nutrition and calorie information on their websites with different options so you can get an accurate approximation of each meal. Take 5 minutes before you head out to eat to find a healthy option that fits into your calorie limit.

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3. Set a schedule for tracking meals. For many people, there isn’t always time to enter foods into a Meal Tracker right after you eat them. Instead, write down meals in a small notebook or send them to yourself in a text message. Next, enter all your meals in your Meal Tracker at the end of the day or the next morning when you know you’ll have time. If there are certain meals you eat regularly, save yourself time in the long run by saving your meal as a favorite.

4. Compare the calorie counts of similar food items in the grocery store. Along with comparing calories, check out the serving size, the number of servings per package along with the fiber, fat and protein grams to decide which foods get tossed in your cart and which get left on the shelf.

5. Use measuring cups and spoons for a more accurate calorie count. Don’t have any around? Visualize typical serving sizes. One cup of cereal is about the size of an adult’s fist. Three ounces of meat is approximately the same size as a deck of cards.

By monitoring your calories, you’ll have a better understanding on what you can cut out of your diet and what you can afford to add. Plus, you can compare your fitness routine to your calorie count to see how many calories you are burning. Being calorie conscious is an excellent way to stay on track with your diet and help you reach your weight loss goals.

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