TOTW Tuesday: Don’t Eat Empty Calorie Foods

by Ashley on January 14, 2014

It’s easy to do. It really is. Eat all day long, but not eat a thing.

Wait.

Rewind.

What?

I know what you’re thinking. Eat all day long, but not eat a thing? How so?

Easyyyy and today I’ll tell ya how.

If you follow the Standard American Diet (SAD) you might be doing this every single day. You might be filling up on foods that provide calories but fail to provide your body what it needs nutritionally. In the nutrition world, we like to call these foods empty calorie foods – foods that provide calories and thus lead to weight gain if you are not extremely careful, but provide no nutritional benefits at all. Empty calorie foods are high in unhealthy fats and added sugars and are void of any disease fighting vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy life long.

Empty calories

Eating should not only be a joyful experience but each bite should provide your body with the nourishment that it needs to fuel your body and keep it strong lifelong.

A few examples of empty calorie foods include:

  • sodas, sports drinks, cakes, cookies, pastries, doughnuts, candies, high fat meats (sausage, hot dogs, bologna, bacon, ribs), fried foods (fried chicken, onion rings, French fries, chips, taco shells), vegetable oil, hot pockets, pizza rolls, egg rolls, etc.

All of these foods are high sugar, unhealthy fats or both and high in calories too!

Instead of these foods, my Tip of the Week this week is to reach for nutrient dense food –  foods that provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that it needs to stay healthy and strong!

When choosing what you will eat each day, reach for:

  • Fruits: bananas, berries, grapes, oranges, peaches, melons, etc.
  • Veggies: spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, celery, peppers, onions, asparagus, sweet potatoes etc.
  • Whole grains: oats, cereals, quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain crackers, etc.
  • Lean proteins: Low-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, veggie burgers, salmon,  chicken/turkey breast, etc.
  • Healthy fats: avocados, olive oil, walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanut butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, etc.
  • Healthy beverages: water flavored with fresh lemons, limes, oranges, mint, etc., sparkling water, unsweetened almond milk, green tea, herbal tea, coffee (hold the sugar and cream!), etc.

When selecting a healthy snack go for:

  • Dried fruits: apricots, dried plums, raisins, etc.
  • Unsalted nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.
  • Fresh fruits: apple slices, grapes, orange slices, cuties, avocado slices, etc.
  • Veggies: celery sticks, bell pepper sticks, baby carrots, etc.
  • Homemade popcorn
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Healthy dips: hummus, peanut butter, etc.
  • Greek yogurt

Do you eat empty calorie foods? If so, what could you substitute for them in order to make 2014 your healthiest year yet!?

I hope you have an empty calorie free day!

Good health!

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