Make Your Calories Count


Weight loss is a common New Year’s resolution.  With this in mind, what can you do to make this year’s resolution more successful than ones you have made in the past?  One way to improve your odds of success is to choose food wisely.  The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume.  Choosing foods that give you the least amount of calories, coupled with the most nutrition and satiety can improve your odds of diet success.

Step 1
Plan your meals ahead of time. If you start eating at the beginning of the day and go blindly on throughout the day, eating when you are hungry, bored or tired, you likely will eat many more calories than you should by day’s end. Start each day with a plan. Sit down the night before, or even a week ahead of time, and plan your meals and snacks.

Step 2
Fill up with flavorful foods that are light in calories. Soups, salads and many fruits and vegetables that are prepared simply will fit into this category. Have a piece of fruit with breakfast and as a snack, and eat a bowl of soup or salad before lunch and dinner.

Step 3
High-calories foods should be high in protein or fiber. There is no need to ban high-calorie foods from your diet, but make sure they have a purpose. Foods high in fiber and protein are high in calories, but both protein and fiber help you feel fuller for longer. Protein is an essential building block that the body uses for many functions, and fiber is important to maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Step 4
Build room into your diet for snacks. It is unrealistic to think that you will never eat a snack. The important thing is to choose snacks that add to your diet, not take away from it. Foods light in calories, such as fruit and vegetables, are good, but calorie-dense foods are not a problem, as long as they are nutritionally sound. One example of this is nuts. Nuts are relatively high in calories, but they provide protein and healthy fats, and, in small portions, are good additions to your diet.

Step 5
Choose foods that perform double duty. Some foods are more valuable than others, and choosing them is a good way to get the most for each calorie. If you are craving a particular food, think about what you really want. Are you looking for something salty? Sweet? Cold? Choose a healthy alternative, such as nuts or fruit. If you are craving a particular food and no other alternative will do, go ahead and indulge in a small portion, perhaps coupled with a healthy addition, such as a brownie with fruit.

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