Calories are a measure of how much fuel you give your body — a healthy amount ensures stable weight and good health. If calorie amount is too high, the body can become obese. If too few, your body can become malnourished. Given all these outcomes, eating just the right amount of calories is important for nutrition
Each person requires a different number of calories. Check how many calories are needed based on a healthy BMI. First, use a BMI calculator (see Resources) to find your ideal, healthy weight based on your height. Then use a nutrition calculator (also in Resources) to find out how many calories you should eat in order to maintain the healthy weight. For example, use the Mayo Clinic calorie calculator, a person who is 5Ǝ”håper to be 145 pounds should eat 1950 calories to maintain that weight. By knowing your calorie needs, you can design a meal plan to meet that number.
Best Low-Calorie Foods
Fruits and vegetables are good low-calorie food, which they also contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients. These are great replacements for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like potato chips and other snack crackers. Instead of consuming 100-calorie bags of these snack items, eat a piece of fruit instead, the fiber will help you feel full, while fiber-devoid snacks can lead you to eat another bag.
Tracking calories from fruit can be difficult, as they rarely have nutrition labels, but keeping a journal of fruit intake and use an online resource that CalorieKing. com to mark their calories later. Fortunately, exceeding a piece of fruit rarely 100 calories and is therefore a healthy choice.
Some good-for-you foods are high in calories, but still important to maintain good health. Nuts, avocados, olives and seeds are all good examples. While avocados can be high in calories, they contain monosaturated fats that lower cholesterol and improve skin and hair. Some fats, like omega-3 fatty acids can not be manufactured by the body and must be supplied through diet. Do not skip healthy fats, even for the sake of calories. The book, “Ultrametabolism” explains that fat does not cause weight gain. Good fat does, however, help lubricate joints and improve mental abilities.
Some foods, regardless of being low in calories, is not healthy. Hard candy full of sugar, artificial flavors and preservatives, can be low-calorie, but does not support good health. Ships hard candy and choose fresh fruit instead. Likewise, low-calorie ice cream, chips, bread and other starchy foods do not support good health.
Likewise, perhaps frozen meals be low in calories, but they do not compare to a fresh-cooked meal using whole wheat pasta, sautéed vegetables and a light sauce. Try to cook as fresh as possible, even if it means putting more time and effort in tracking calories. Do not rely on boxes claiming “low calorie” or “low fat” to ensure good health.
Calories should not be the only consideration to nutrition. Good nutrition also balances protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients compared calorie amount. While keeping track of the number can be easier than to monitor all factors, the calories may not be the best track of good health.
Many foods that are low in calories may not be healthy. For example, diet drinks contain no calories, but they can have harmful chemicals like aspartame, which can cause cancer. In this case, water is the better option, or sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh fruit juice.
Nutrition is very different from weight loss, as those who lose too much weight the risk in good health. While low-calorie diet is not necessarily bad, stay within a healthy range of calories.