How to Avoid Empty Calories

A major component to weight lose is cutting the amount of calories you take in and increasing the amount of calories you burn.  empty caloriesWatching portion sizes, eating a well-balanced diet, working out regularly, etc. are all essential to weight loss and weight maintenance.  A tricky thing to watch out for is foods that provide you with empty calories.  Simply put, empty calories are foods that have a high amount of calories and fat, but hold very little nutritional value.  These empty calorie foods lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which as we all know are essential components in our diet.  Empty calories are most commonly found in processed foods, a short list includes:
– Baked goods
– Fried foods
– Refined foods
– Candy
– Soda
– Chips
– Alcoholic beverages
– Juices (those that are not 100% juice)
– Butter and Margarine
– Sauces and Gravies

How do you avoid these empty calories?

Plan ahead.  Know what you will be eating during the course of the day.  Pack your lunch if you will not be home during the day.  This will help you avoid joining the rest of your co-workers going to the local fast food joint.  Pack fruit or cut up veggies for your day time snack, this can help you fight the after-lunch/before dinner hunger and will prevent you from wandering to the vending machines in search of empty calories… I mean a snack.

Avoid fried foods.  Switch your fried chicken for a grilled or baked skinless chicken breast.  Not only will this help to cut calories, but you may even notice you feel better (eating fried foods has a way of sitting heavy in the stomach and making you feel sluggish).

Drink water.  Making this switch from soda to water will help slim down your waist!

Limit your sweets.  Try to avoid eating sugary sweets and baked goods, replace them with fruit.  Most fruits are sweet and all will provide you with vitamins and minerals!

Cut down on sauces and gravies.  These can add some serious calories to your meal.  If you can’t do it cold turkey, put the normal amount of sauce/gravy you would use on the side.  Dip your food into it every other bite.  You’ll be amazed at how much will be left over (which equals fewer calories you consumed).

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