How to eliminate empty calories

Snack on raw veggies, such as celery, carrots, cucumbers and broccoli florets, instead of chips and crackers.

by Jacque Miller — 

Did you know that high-calorie foods generally mean empty calories, while low-calorie foods tend to be the ones higher in nutrients? With so many choices at the grocery stores and in restaurants, it can be confusing to know which foods to choose.

Here are some tips to help you avoid empty calories and make healthier alternative choices.

  1. Eliminate sugary drinks, such as sodas, and opt for water, skim milk or herbal teas sweetened with honey or agave.
  2. Whole fruit contains fewer calories and more fiber than fruit juice, so limit your juice intake to one glass a day.
  3. Snack on raw veggies, such as celery, carrots, cucumbers and broccoli florets, instead of chips and crackers.
  4. Eat a piece of fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of cookies, donuts and other sugary snacks.
  5. Replace white rice and white bread with whole grain wheat bread and brown rice. They are richer than their white counterparts in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  6. Steam or bake foods instead of frying in empty calorie oils.
  7. Happy hour can do more than make you tipsy. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and void of nutrients.
  8. Forego boxed potatoes and white pastas for legumes, which add nutrient-dense options and fiber instead of empty calories.
  9. Baked potatoes are a healthier choice than fries.
  10. Last but not least … eat a breakfast that includes protein instead of pancakes, pastries and sugary coffee drinks.

 

Jacque Miller, B.S., is a behavioral nutritionist and certified lifestyle educator who teaches real solutions for healthy living. www.healthstylechoices.com or 602-672-6333.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 3, June/July 2010.

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