Low Calorie Diet
When you’re striving for weight loss, the goal is to eat low-energy-dense foods. That is, you want to eat a greater volume of food that’s lower in calories. This helps you feel fuller on fewer calories. When you stick to the concept of energy density, you do not have to feel hungry or deprived. By including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains in your diet, you can feel full on fewer calories. You may even have room in your diet for a sweet on occasion as well. Planning with always be key in being successful at any diet philosophy you decide to follow. Most people when following a low calorie diet take in 1200-1400 calories a day maximum. But you can also, lose weight by reducing a 2,000 caloric average intake by 500 calories less a day. Be mindful, to pick more low-energy dense foods to help keep you fuller longer.
Three main factors play a role in what makes food high or low in energy density:
- WATER: Fruits and vegetables generally have high water and fiber content, which provide volume and weight but not calories. That’s why they’re low-energy-dense foods. Grapefruit, for example, is about 90 percent water. Half a grapefruit has just 37 calories. Raw, fresh carrots are about 88 percent water. A medium carrot has only about 25 calories.
- FIBER: High-fiber foods not only provide volume but also take longer to digest, making you feel full longer on fewer calories. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains all contain fiber. Popcorn is a good example of a high-volume, low-calorie whole grain. One cup of air-popped popcorn has about 30 calories.
- FAT: Fat is high in energy density. One pat of butter, for example, contains almost the same number of calories as 2 cups of raw broccoli. Foods that contain fat naturally, such as dairy products and various meats, or foods with added fats are higher in calories than are their leaner or lower fat counterparts.
ENERGY DENSITY AND THE FOOD PYRAMID:
Changing lifestyle habits is never easy, and creating an eating plan using the energy-density concept is no exception. The first step is knowing which foods are better options when it comes to energy density.
Here’s a look at energy density by the categories in the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid.
Most vegetables are very low in calories but high in volume or weight. Most vegetables contain water, which provides weight without calories. Examples include salad greens, asparagus, green beans, broccoli and zucchini.
To add more vegetables to your diet, top your pasta with sauteed vegetables instead of meat or cheese sauce. Decrease the meat portion on your plate and increase the serving of vegetables. Add vegetables to your sandwiches. Snack on raw vegetables.
Practically all types of fruit fit into a healthy diet. But some fruits are lower calorie choices than others are. Whole fresh, frozen and canned fruits without syrup are good options. In contrast, fruit juices and dried fruits are concentrated sources of natural sugar and therefore have a high energy density — more calories — and they don’t fill you up as much.
To fit more fruits into your diet, add blueberries to your cereal in the morning. Try mango or peach slices on whole-wheat toast with a little peanut butter and honey. Or toss some mandarin orange and peach slices into a salad. Keep whole fruit in a bowl within easy sight or in the fridge and eat it anytime you like.
Many carbohydrates are either grains or made from grains, such as cereal, rice, bread and pasta. Whole grains are the best option because they’re higher in fiber and other important nutrients.
Emphasize whole grains by simply choosing whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereal instead of refined grains. Because many carbohydrates are higher in energy density, keep an eye on portion sizes.
PROTEIN AND DAIRY:
These include food from both plant and animal sources. The healthiest lower energy-dense choices are foods that are high in protein but low in fat and calories, such as legumes (beans, peas and lentils, which are also good sources of fiber), fish, skinless white-meat poultry, fat-free dairy products and egg whites.
While fats are high-energy-dense foods, some fats are healthier than others. Include small amounts of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet. Nuts, seeds and oils, such as olive, flaxseed and safflower oils, contain healthy fats.
Like fats, sweets are typically high in energy density. Good options for sweets include those that are low in added fat and contain healthy ingredients, such as fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Examples include fresh fruit topped with low-fat yogurt, a cookie made with whole-wheat flour or a scoop of low-fat ice cream.
The keys to sweets are to keep the serving size small and the ingredients healthy. Even a small piece of dark chocolate can fit into a weight-loss plan.
LOW CALORIE SNACKS:
- 1 cup apple slices (57 calories) + 1 slice reduced fat cheese (77 calories) + 0.4 Oz dark chocolate (62 calories) = 196 calories
- 12 almonds (83 calories) + 7 small strawberries (16 calories) + 1 cup dark chocolate almond milk (100 calories) = 199 calories
- ½ whole wheat bagel (125 calories) + 1 tbsp low fat cream cheese (30 calories) + ½ tbsp apricot preserves (24 calories) = 179 calories
- 5 melba toast crackers (95 calories) + 1 sliced tomato (18m calories) + ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (1 calorie) + 0.5 oz gouda cheese (50 calories) = 164 calories
- 1 small pita pocket, 4* diameter (74 calories) + 1 tbsp cashew butter (94 calories) + ¼ cup blackberries (31 calories) = 199 calories
- 2 celery stalks (12 calories) + 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (94 calories) + 2 tbsp raisins (60 calories) = 166 calories
- 1 cup grapefruit juice (94 calories) + 10 pistachios (40 calories) + 1 cup cubed cantaloupe (54 calories) = 188 calories
- 3 clementine’s
- 4 medium carrots
- 14 almonds
- 33 cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups popcorn
- 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
- 1 ¼ string cheeses
- 1 small banana
- 1 whole egg + 1 egg white
- 1 apple
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ an avocado
- 28 grapes
- 20 roasted peanuts
- ½ medium cantaloupe
- ½ cup edamame
1200 CALORIE FOOD PLAN EXAMPLE:
1 med. slice
|Jelly, regular, 2 tsp||30||0||0|
|Cereal, shredded wheat,
|Milk, 1%, 1 C||102||3||23|
|Orange juice, ¾ C||78||0||0|
|Coffee, regular, 1 C||5||0||0|
|Roast beef sandwich|
| Whole-wheat bread,
2 med. slices
| Lean roast beef,
|Lettuce, 1 leaf||1||0||0|
|Tomato, 3 med. slices||10||0||0|
| Mayonnaise, low-calorie,
|Apple, 1 med.||80||0||0|
|Water, 1 C||0||0||0|
|Salmon, 2 oz edible||103||5||40|
|Vegetable oil, 1½ tsp||60||7||100|
|Baked potato, ¾ med.||100||0||0|
|Margarine, 1 tsp||34||4||100|
|Green beans, seasoned
with margarine, ½ C
|White dinner roll, 1 small||70||2||26|
|Iced tea, unsweetened, 1 C||0||0||0|
|Water, 2 C||0||0||0|
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Note: Calories have been rounded.
1,200: 100% RDA met for all nutrients except: Vitamin E 80%,Vit B2 96%,Vit B6 94%, Calcium 68%, Iron 63%, Zinc 73%
* No salt added in recipe preparation or as seasoning. Consume at least 32 oz. water.