Have you been counting your calories? Once upon a time, we were told that calorie counting had everything to do with weight loss, but the fact is that not all calories are created equal.
While burning calories will always remain the most important way to lose weight (3500 calories is equal to one pound), some calories are better for you than others.
Calories keep us moving, but there are good calories and bad calories. Good calories give you energy, they’re burned faster, and they come from healthy foods. Bad calories weigh you down, and they come from unhealthy foods.
Bad calories are the empty calories you get from refined sugar-filled sweets and junk food. These calories are adding to your weight gain without giving you anything else. They don’t contain the vitamins and nutrients you need for a healthy body - or they don’t contain much of them anyway.
Some "junk" food offers more than empty calories, so it helps to be aware of what is good for you and what is bad. When it comes to choosing healthy snacks, and healthier junk food calories, here are some smarter options:
- Dark Chocolate - While there may be some unnecessary calories in your favorite candy bar, if it’s dark chocolate it is also offering you some healthy antioxidants. Antioxidants remove free radicals (things that cause cancer and illness) from your body. Pass on the milk chocolate, and pick solid chocolate (or those with nuts), but pass on the nougat and caramel.
- Popcorn - When you want chips, consider having some popcorn. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack, perfect for dieting. Of course, to keep it healthy and low calorie you need to skip the salt and butter. You can flavor popcorn with herbs and spices if you don’t like it plain.
- Nuts - Nuts are healthy snack choices that are filled with protein, healthy fats, and more. Again, there are good nut options and bad ones. Raw is the best choice, but if you can’t find any raw nuts, just make sure you get them without the salt.
Now that we’ve touched base on the bad calories and some of the ways you can snack without getting those bad calories in your diet let’s look at some other healthy options when it comes to eating.
Most foods have calories. The key is to follow the proper serving recommendations to make sure you’re not getting more calories than you need (then getting some physical activity into your life so that you can burn the calories you ingested). There are high-calorie foods and low-calorie foods. There are also foods that have zero calories. The best foods, though, are negative calorie foods. Yes, this is a real thing. While the food item has calories, your body uses more calories in order to digest that particular item.
Read pickle containers - some are free of calories. As far as negative calorie food items, here are some common ones:
Many fruits and vegetables count as negative calorie foods. Some of these foods count toward your water intake for the day too - including watermelon and celery. That’s why fruits and veggies are great diet foods. They’re also full of fiber (to help keep you regular) and rich in various vitamins and minerals.
Are You Ready to Cut Calories?
Hey, quit counting calories and start eating healthier. If you’re making the right food choices, calories don’t even matter. The best thing to do is to fill your plate a third full of vegetables at each meal. Eat a salad before delving into the main dish, and stop eating before you feel “stuffed.”
Pass on the dessert and junk food - instead, have as much fruit as you want (smoothies are a great way to get a high dose of fruits without filling up too much).