5 Ways to Avoid Filling Up on Empty Calories

Thursday, November 29, 2012

4 women snacking

It's easy to get overwhelmed by our busy lives and grab food on the go that doesn’t provide the nourishment our bodies need. Pretty much anything you would call “junk food” is an empty-calorie culprit. These types of foods contain a lot of calories but generally don’t contain much nutritional value—like fast food, chips, cookies, candy, soda, and ice cream.

Help yourself limit empty calories by:

  1. Bringing your lunch to work.
    Chop up some veggies for a tasty salad or a veggie-loaded sandwich. Pack up the leftovers from last night’s dinner to heat up.

  2. Planning meals in advance.
    Whether you’re making the grocery list for the week or just thinking about what to have for dinner, planning your meals—before your stomach starts rumbling—is a great way to limit empty calorie intake. Having trouble getting your family on board with the changes you want to make? Get them involved! Sit down with the family and talk about new things you want to try.

  3. Stocking your pantry & freezer.
    Keep healthy staples like beans, whole wheat pasta, and low sodium soups in your pantry. Keep frozen veggies, berries, and skinless chicken breast on hand in the freezer. Mix them up or add them to leftovers.

  4. Being mindful of what you’re eating.
    Check out our tips on Mindless Munching vs. Mindful Eating.

  5. Having healthy snacks available.
    Healthy snacks are a great way to bridge between meals so you don’t find yourself starving at the end of the day and go for quick—but empty calories— when you get home. Mix up some unsalted nuts and raisins or other dried fruit with your favorite whole grain cereal. Have fresh veggies with hummus. Or try apple slices or celery sticks with peanut, almond, or other nut butters. Keep total calories in check by reading the nutrition label and managing portion size.

Try This! Noticing that you’ve been filling up on empty calories? Commit to making at least one change to reduce your empty calorie intake this week. Let us know what you tried and how it goes on Facebook Exit Disclaimer!

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