Use Cooking Spray to Cut Calories

Using cooking spray to reduce calorie count.

When most of us think about cutting calories, we think about reducing the amount of food we eat. However, cutting out food is not the only way to reduce your calorie intake. You can cut out calories by using alternate cooking preparation techniques.

One healthy way is instead of coating your pan with butter, margarine, oil or meat drippings, spray it with a cooking spray. Replacing one pat of butter with one spray saves on average 35 calories and three grams of fat. Most commercially prepared cooking sprays have about one gram of fat and seven calories for a one-second spray. By comparison a pat of butter has 36 calories and over four grams of fat.

Other Cooking Spray Ideas

Another popular choice for using cooking spray instead of butter is on air-popped popcorn. Your popcorn will still have the buttery taste, but without all of the calories. Cooked vegetables don’t have to be served drizzled with butter. Instead use a cooking spray to coat the vegetables and then toss with your favorite herbs or seasonings. You’ll find you actually will prefer vegetables served with cooking spray instead of butter.

Eating Out

All of this is well and good for meals you cook at home, but what about when you eat out? Most restaurants will oblige your request to have something cooked in cooking spray instead of butter or oil. In most cases, all you have to do is ask. As more people are becoming health-conscious, eateries are adapting to keep your business.

Make Your Own Cooking Spray

Mix together 1 part of olive oil (or a healthy oil of your choice) and 5 parts of water. Pour into a misting spray bottle and shake well to mix the ingredients. That’s it; simple, huh. Make sure your bottle is the mister type. A plant mister bottle works well. Be sure to shake well each time before using so the contents are well mixed. Commercial sprays contain an emulsifier to keep the oil and water suspended, where your homemade spray does not.

Overall, ounce for ounce, cooking oils and fats contribute more calories to your foods than any other ingredient. By using a cooking spray, you are cutting out unwanted calories and fat, but not flavor. It may only be 35 calories that you are saving, but little changes here and there all add up in the end – your goal to reduce calories by 500 per day to lose an average of one pound a week.

Save Money Cutting Calories

Here's how to buy smarter and eat smarter while cutting calories.

Buying food is one of the larger expenditures we make each week. But did you know that by cutting calories you can also save money? Use our tips on how to save money both when eating out and eating at home.

Save Money Cutting Calories When Eating Out

We know eating out is much more expensive than brown bagging it, but do you know how much you are spending? Assuming your daily lunch costs $7.00, with an average of 20 working days per month, that is $140 per month or $1,680 per year! Oh … let’s not forget to mention the loads of calories and saturated fat that is in many of the fast-food super-sized lunch choices. Your meal could easily top over 900 calories and 40 grams of fat. That is over half of your daily calorie count in just one meal!

Compare that to a salad of vegetables and grilled chicken with a light vinaigrette dressing, and a cup of homemade vegetable soup and you saved around 550 calories, 34 grams of fat and about $5.00. A healthy lunch you bring from home will nutritionally and financially beat lunch out every time hands down. And if you can avoid having to drive somewhere to get lunch, you can save even more by not spending money on gas to get there and back.

What you drink can really run up your monthly expenses and calories too. Instead of ordering your morning $4.00 latte with 180 calories, order a coffee with half-and-half cream with only 20 calories. Not only did you save $2.25, but you drank 160 fewer calories – and that is if you only have one drink per day.

Save Money Cutting Calories When Eating at Home

Buying your own groceries and eating at home is always less expensive and with less calories than eating out. But how can you reduce calories and food costs at the same time? Cook in bulk.

It costs money every time you fire up the oven. So instead of making one meal at a time, cook up a whole week’s worth of meals, package them in portion-sized servings and freeze them. It takes much less energy to heat up a meal in the microwave than cook it in the oven and with a portioned-sized meal, there will be less temptation to overeat, thus saving calories.

Another tip … watch the sales on healthy items. Instead of stocking up on processed food that is on sale, still expensive and full of calories, focus on buying healthy choices instead, such as tuna, olive oil, beans and brown rice, and lean meats. In the end, both your waistline and wallet will thank you.

Food costs are one of our largest monthly expenditures. However, by diligently buying healthy items in quantity when on sale, you not only save money at the checkout, but in gas by not having to go to the grocery store as often. And by buying natural healthy foods, you are avoiding the unwanted calories in processed foods, not to mention the saturated fat, trans fat and sodium found in many pre-made foods. Buy smart, eat smart and save both money and calories.

2 Low Calorie Deserts

Here's how to make low calorie deserts.

Desserts don’t have to be loaded with calories (and fat) to taste great. There are many low calories recipes that won’t add to your waistline, but still taste great. These two desserts recipes are just a sampling of how recipes can be altered to make them healthy, yet still taste great:

Low Calorie Mandel Bread

How modified:

  • vegetable oil replaced with canola oil
  • sugar reduced by one-fourth
  • dark chocolate chips substituted for semisweet ones
  • one-third of all-purpose flour replaced with white whole wheat flour


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup dark-chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Together mix granulated sugar and oil in a large bowl; fold in eggs and vanilla until well mixed. In a separate bowl, combine flours and baking powder. Add flour/baking powder combination to egg mixture, along with chocolate chips and mix well. Form the dough on the cookie sheet into three 9-inch-long logs; flatten each to 2 inches wide.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Angle cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange slices on cookie sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until browned. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Healthy Low Calorie Savings:

  • Cut 22 calories and 2 g carbohydrate; added 1 g fiber.
  • New nutrition facts per slice: 123 calories, 1g protein, 15g carbohydrate, 8g fat (2g saturated), 1g fiber
  • Makes 36 slices

Low Calorie Snickerdoodle Cookies

How Modified:

  • Replaced half of flour with white whole-wheat flour
  • Reduced butter by half; added yogurt as butter substitute
  • Reduced sugar by one-fourth


  • 1 cup natural, plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, cream of tartar and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix butter and yogurt 30 seconds; add 1 cup granulated sugar. Beat until combined; scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Fold in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture. Divide the dough in half. Wrap and chill dough for 2 hours, or until easy to handle.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. Mix together 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch small balls and roll the balls in the sugar mixture. Place balls about 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Flatten balls slightly, if desired.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Healthy Low Calorie Savings:

  • Cut 22 calories, 2g carbohydrate, and 2g saturated fat; added 1g protein, 0.5g fiber.
  • New nutrition facts per cookie: 70 calories, 1g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fat (1g saturated), 0.5g fiber
  • Makes 48 cookies

By using healthy substitutes, such as white whole wheat flour in place of regular flour, yogurt in place of butter, and reducing the sugar in your recipes, you can turn your calorie-laden desserts into something healthy, and more than likely your family will not notice the difference. Next, we’ll take a look at some hidden calorie traps but go ahead and experiment and see how you can rehab your recipes to make them into low calorie deserts.