The typical American diet is full of processed foods that contain high amounts of sugar, fat and salt. This diet contributes to the growing number of people that are either overweight or obese. Processed foods such as cookies, chips, candy and sugar-sweetened beverages are considered empty calories that add up quickly. With simple switches you can decrease your number of empty calories and hopefully make an impact on your waistline and health.
Empty Calorie Beverages
The longest lines in the morning are always at the coffee shops. These eye-opening beverages typically have a tremendous calorie count. Then if you progress onto a lunchtime soda and an afternoon energy shot you easily could have consumed more than half of your calorie allotment on beverages before dinner.
The best alternative is water, which does a fantastic job of hydrating your body and helping you to burn fat throughout the day. Try using frozen fruit and/or vegetables to flavor your water as a natural choice. If you must choose other options, sugar-free water mixes and sugar-free syrups for coffee and tea are a great alternative.
Empty Calorie Foods
Empty food calories offer little to no vitamins, minerals or fiber, which your body needs to feel full. Additionally, processed foods are stripped of nutrients while fats, sugar and salt are added for flavor. When eating empty calories you tend to overeat because you don’t feel satisfied. When you aren’t satisfied then you have a tendency to reach for more empty calories to fill a void. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to excess daily caloric intake.
Choose nutrient dense foods that provide fiber, vitamins and minerals without added sugar (of any kind). An apple or any piece of fruit will keep you feeling satisfied longer than a small bag of chips. Having sliced fresh vegetables dipped in non-fat, plain Greek yogurt that has Hidden Valley Ranch powder dressing mixed in is a satisfying snack. Making better choices may significantly decrease your consumption of fat, sugar and salt.
Calories are too important to spend on non-healthy food and beverages choices. Tracking your intake will help provide a real picture of the calories that you are consuming that may contain high amounts of fat, sugar or salt. Better calorie choices will make you feel full longer and will help you lose weight.