Low Calorie Foods

on June 24, 2011

Weight loss experts will tell you that it’s a great idea to keep track of what you’re eating. A food diary that notes the time of day, type of food and number of calories in that item can help guide an informed and healthy eating plan. Plus, consuming nutritious low calorie foods is a great way to control the intake of calories while getting the nutrition you need. Look for low-calorie, high-volume choices that will keep you feeling fit and full.

Vegetables and fruits: Vegetables and fruits provide essential nutrients and fiber. Plus, they’re high volume, low calorie foods, which means you can eat them in higher amounts without consuming a massive number of calories. Plus, you get fuller faster and stay that way longer as most fruits and veggies contain high fiber. The Mayo Clinic lists an example of low calorie, high volume foods using the grapes versus raisins comparison. Raisins are high energy density, high calorie and small volume foods. One-quarter cup of raisins has the same amount of calories as a full cup of grapes, so grapes are a better choice for a filling low calorie food. However, be mindful of some sneaky high calorie fruit and veggies. Avocado, for example, is a fruit with loads of healthy fiber, vitamins and good monounsaturated fat, but the calories add up quickly. Bananas, too, are full of vital potassium but high in carbs and calories. Knowing how many calories are in your favorite fruits and vegetables will help you stay on track.

Fill up on fiber. Selecting low calorie foods with fiber, like popcorn, can provide you with a quick snack that won’t cost you in calories. Keep the toppings low calorie, and you can vary the snack to keep it interesting. A butter-flavored spray with a teaspoon of salt and sugar sprinkled over 2 cups of popcorn gives you that kettle corn taste with a fraction of the calories.

Pump up the protein. According a recent USDA dietary guideline publication, if your dietary intake is low in calories, you should increase the percentage of protein you eat. Lean proteins are a good low calorie food, and your body benefits from their amino acids, which are essential for growth and development. The Mayo Clinic states that 10 percent to 35 percent of your total caloric intake should come from lean protein sources. One gram of protein equals about 4 calories. In moderation, plant protein such as lentils, nuts and soy, or animal-based proteins such as seafood, poultry, dairy and lean meats are low in calories but high in nutrition and satisfaction.

Found in: Nutrition