Friday, March 30, 2012

Make Caloric Density Work For You

In today's world, it's easy to eat something small that's EXTREMELY calorie dense.  I think McDonald's gets picked on enough, so I'll use Burger King as an example.  Their Whopper has a "whopping" 670 calories per burger, and anyone who's got a stomach like mine (which is pretty much any college guy I can think of) could down three of those things before feeling full.  Guys have big stomachs, and even you women, who get full more easily, still could effortlessly consume a tuna salad wrap which, with added Mayo, could break 500 calories without trying too hard.  And who eats just the sandwich, right?  You gotta have a few extras, like coleslaw, or a ranch smothered salad, or even some fries.  Before you know it, you've broken 1000 calories in one meal, gotten very little actual nutrition, and worst of all you may not even know you did it!

So how is it possible to avoid these calorie dense meals that don't fill you up?  It's pretty simple really.  First, know your food, how many calories they contain, and assume as little as possible.  Find out tooth and nail how many calories that piece of pizza has, and limit yourself based on that.  Knowledge is power, and to succeed in dieting, you need to KNOW as much as possible about the food you eat.  No guesswork.  But we all know this, right?  What I really wanted to talk about with you today is a neat little method to ensure you stay full, and don't go overboard with caloric content.  Check this out:

Now by this point we should have a grasp on the term "caloric density."  Basically the less amount of food per calorie, the greater caloric density that food has.  Peanut butter is 2 tablespoons per 200 calories.  That's VERY dense, because two tablespoons ain't that much.  Lettuce is extremely NON calorie dense, because you can have like 10 or 12 cups of the stuff and would be hard pressed to break 100 calories.  The trick is finding the foods that AREN'T calorie dense, yet are still delicious and filling, and stacking those on top of each other for each meal.  Here's an example:

For lunch at home, I'll usually have:

1 tilapia fillet (~100 calories)

1 hard boiled egg (~80 calories)

1 whole wheat flatbread (~100 calories)

1 bag of "steam in bag" carrots (~100 calories)

1 grapefruit (~100 calories)

1 tomato (~30 calories)

1 big salad with lettuce, mushrooms, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and balsamic vinegar (<100 calories)

1/2 serving of peanuts, almonds, or cashews (~100 calories)

mmmmm... Tilapia
So that's about a 700 calorie lunch, and ladies and gentlemen, that's a LOT of food.  Keep in mind that if i were to have 1 Whopper, I would have consumed about the same number of calories, I'd have gotten almost zero nutritional value, and I'D STILL BE HUNGRY!  Plus, there's a lot more your body can do with that boatload of nutrients you give it in MY meal than all that saturated fats, sugars, and chemicals you give it in BK's meal, and therefore you'll be more likely to maintain a lean figure and feel like a million bucks.  

Another tip, try to keep your foods around whole calorie numbers.  Notice most of my meals items were 100 calories a piece.  This made the addition quite easy, and the foods more numerous.  Feel free to substitute more calorie dense HEALTHY items, but remember that once you do your plate might start to look a little empty.  

Now in terms of the actual food items chosen, I'm pretty sure I've given you enough information in all my other articles to do that on your own (do some reading if you have to, there's PLENTY to read in this blog), but just to refresh, if you're looking for low caloric density go with: lean meats (fish, chicken, turkey, even lean beef), veggies (broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, carrots, corn), and fruits (grapefruits, bananas, apples, pears, oranges).  Nuts may be higher in caloric density, but don't be afraid to throw a few in there for some healthy fats (WHICH YOU NEED!), just watch the overall quantity.  They are quite satiating though, so don't worry about still being hungry.

And my final advice:  You really want to make sure you leave that dinner table full?  Drink a glass of water before the meal, and one during.  Big, full glasses.  That'll keep you topped off guaranteed, and you won't have room for any of that cheesy casserole.  

See?  It's not so hard.  Keep the foods lean, healthy and light, and you'll be eating big meals that keep you slim, trim and strong.  You'll feel like you're just shoveling the food in, but in reality you're eating the same amount, if not less than you were before.  Crazy how this stuff works, right?

Enjoy your food, eat healthy 'til you're full, and as always, GOOD LUCK!

1 comment:

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