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6 Ways To Banish Empty Calories From Your Life
What are empty calories?Here’s a little anatomy lesson on how your body works: when you eat, your body processes calories as energy. The thing is, if you’re taking in any extra calories, //www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/tc/quick-tips-avoiding-empty-calories-get-started" target="_blank">your body just stores them as fat. (Ah, so that’s where my love handles come from.) The term “empty calories” is used to describe foods with lots of calories, mostly //www.jennycraig.com/site/learn/article/empty-calories-what-they-are-and-why-they-are-bad-for-you" target="_blank">solid fats and/or added sugars, and with little nutrients and vitamins. Solid fats are butters and shortenings, and added sugars include high-fructose corn syrup and just more sugar. So if you ever catch yourself wondering where your weight gain is coming from, check the labels on what you’re eating. Usually the culprit are those “convenience foods”––the prepackaged easy fixes like snacks, chips, and sodas. You’ll likely see a load of empty calories in each serving.
What are some nutrient-rich foods?On the other side of the spectrum are nutrient-rich foods. These foods are loaded with the good stuff, and your body will love processing them. Greek yogurt, beans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, fruits and veggies are just some of the //www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/healthy-foods" target="_blank">delicious nutrient-rich foods in which you can indulge guilt-free. In fact, there’s such a thing as superfoods (in case you haven’t heard). These foods are chock full of nutrients, and are so good for your body, diet experts gave them superpowers! A few of those are seaweed, cherries, and blueberries.
How to avoid empty calories?You might be thinking, Yes, this is all fine and dandy, but how can I actually avoid empty calories? Well, I’ve got some great tips to help you break free from the empty calories wheel of emptiness.
1. Take Out the GarbageThe first thing you need to do is get all the empty calorie foods out of your life––and that starts with dumping your fridge and pantry of all that junk. It’s hard, but it’s cathartic. (I should know, I did it and took an “after picture” to prove it.) If all that garbage is out of your house, you’ll be less tempted to grab a bag of chips or mindlessly munch on bad foods. Empty your office drawer stash of that candy, too. Keep empty calorie foods out of reach, so when the time comes and your stomach starts to rumble, you’ll be grabbing healthier options instead.
2. Swap In the Good StuffIf you’re committed to making the change, train yourself to go for the healthier options first. There are plenty of healthy food swaps you can use to substitute for the fatty or cheesy options. Addicted to soda? Drink kombucha. Craving some potato chips? Have some jicama instead. Contrary to popular belief, healthy food substitutions don’t have to be bland and tasteless (or bad tasting). There are plenty of delicious recipes rich in flavor that aren’t masked behind grease, fat, and sugar. And if you’re anything like me, your taste buds will change and soon enough you’ll love the healthier options more than the bad ones!
3. Read the LabelsYou can learn a great deal from nutritionist Danielle Omar on how to read food labels (check out her //foodconfidence.com/nourish/" target="_blank">Nourish program), but here’s a short version. Look for the following in your //www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm" target="_blank">Nutrition Facts:
- Vitamin D