There is a misconception among people striving to eat healthier that foods with less calories are better for you. This can steer you in the wrong direction. You can become misguided in your diet, seeking out meals that may leave you cranky and dissatisfied. This is because many diets require you to count your calories without considering the nutritional value of your food. Many diets promise quick weight-loss solutions through restrictive corner-cutting alternatives such as no-carb diets.
Food is rarely both nutrient-dense and calorie-dense. Beware of options like the “Cookie-Diet,” which promises to serve all of your daily nutrition through a few servings of delicious cookies. Consider everything you’re leaving out of your diet when you exchange it with a meal replacement. The best way to get your nutrition is through fruits, vegetables, grains, in their natural form.
So how can we reduce caloric intake without sacrificing the benefits of healthy intake? I can provide some basic guidelines.
Vegetables and fruits are great for nutrient-density because they are full of fiber and water, but dieters often shy away from them because of their sugar content. However, these organic sugars have benefits. Plus, they are high in fiber. This is necessary for out digestive functioning and gives us only two calories per gram.
However, you can lower your caloric intake by watching how much fat you eat. Fat has nine calories per gram while carbs and protein have four. This isn’t necessarily the best nutritional decision, because some fats, such as the ones found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and olive oil have great health benefits.
Here are some tips to get you thinking in a nutrient-counting mindset, instead of calorie-counting:
- Eat fruit in between meals or as a component of meals. For example, eat a banana and fingerful of almonds instead of a handful of almonds. Or, compliment a salad with apple slices or strawberries.
- Replaces starches with veggies. Skip the rice by making a large stir-fry of mostly vegetables and protein (either meat, tofu, or seitan). Also, mushrooms have a meaty flavor and can be used to replace meat in burgers. You can even purchase a spiralizer and consider making pasta out of your vegetables.
- Remember – always fill half your plate with vegetables. Start crafting some savory salad recipes, and soon your meals will be looking green, nutritious, and even low-calorie.