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Monday, December 11, 2006

Energy Dense Food For Weight Loss

Two factors play an important role in what makes food less calorie-packed and more filling:

Water. Many fruits and vegetables are high in water, which provides volume but not calories. Grapefruit, for example, is about 90 percent water and has just 39 calories in a half-fruit serving. Carrots are about 88 percent water and have only 52 calories in 1 cup.

Fiber. High-fiber foods — such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains — not only provide volume, but also take longer to digest, making you feel full longer for weight loss.

It is amazing to know actually how many calories are in liquid drinks as drinking two pops or juices a day can add up to 500 calories extra. If you feel hungry a lot than focus on consuming high fiber foods as they will keep you fuller longer.

The first step is knowing which foods are best.

Vegetables. Most vegetables — salad greens, asparagus, green beans, broccoli and zucchini, for example — are low in calories but high in volume. Each vegetable serving is about 25 calories, and typical serving sizes are 1 cup raw, a half cup cooked or 2 cups leafy vegetables. Some vegetables are starchy — such as corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash — and contain more calories, about 70 calories in a half-cup serving.

Fruits. Practically all types of fruit fit into a healthy diet. But some fruits are better choices than others are. Whole fresh, frozen and canned fruit without added sugar have about 60 calories a serving. Unlike fruit juices and dried fruits, these types of fruit are higher in bulk because of water and fiber and are your best choices. A typical serving is a small- or medium-sized piece of fresh fruit or a half cup of sliced fruit.

Carbohydrates. Most foods in this group are either grains or are made from grains, such as cereal, rice, bread and pasta. The best type is whole grains because they're higher in fiber and other important nutrients. Whole grain means the bran and germ are left on the grain when it's processed. Examples include whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereal. Each serving of carbohydrate has about 70 calories. A typical serving is a half cup of grain, such as rice, pasta, barley or cereal, or one slice of bread.

Protein/dairy. This includes foods from both plant and animal sources. The best choices are those that are high in protein but low in fat and calories, such as legumes — beans, peas and lentils, which are also good sources of fiber — fish, skinned white-meat poultry, fat-free dairy products and egg whites. Foods in the protein/dairy group have about 110 calories a serving, which is about a half cup of legumes, 3 ounces of chicken or fish, or 1 cup of skim milk. Serving sizes vary depending on the type of food.

Try consuming more energy dense foods that will keep you fuller with less calories to burn off for weight loss.

Have a great day and God bless!

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