People are always asking me what the best foods are to eat if you are looking to lose weight? At first it seems like an odd question, you would think by now everybody surely knows what's healthy and what’s not. Then I got to thinking even though there’s a lot of information about dieting, a lot of it is misleading, confusing and sometimes stretch the truth until it really is false. No wonder people are confused and not sure what to do. If I didn’t spend hours keeping up with the latest research, I’d be confused too.
Positive Calorie Negative Calorie
So, let’s take a quick look at foods you can eat that fill you up with healthy, good tasting, and are healthy calorie positive foods. What are 'calorie positive' foods you may be asking? These are foods that have a positive impact on your health. With positive calorie foods, you really can have "all you can eat" without worrying about the effects on your waistline or creating chronic disease inside of you! So, let's look at those wonderful positive calorie foods and what they can do for our weight loss and health.
You might be asking, what are 'calorie negative' foods? Calorie negative foods mean that you use more calories in eating and digesting the food than it contains, keeping in mind that we burn calories all the time by simply living, even when we sleep. In practice the term is used for a lot of low calorie foods.
When pick foods to eat on a diet be sure to consider calorie positive and calorie negative foods.
One of the best known calorie negative foods is celery. It is very low in calories and takes a lot of time and energy to eat, if you eat it whole and chew on all those stringy fibers. If you ate celery in this way all day you would be sure of not gaining weight, but it wouldn't be good for you. You would not be getting the nutrients that you needed, and you might even starve. So, a diet of just celery is not your best choice. However, you may not know other foods such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are calorie negative and calorie positive because these three foods fill you up quick, lower in calories and will prevent cancer in your body.
I know eating vegetables raw is more of a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s only a challenge because you say it is. Just tell yourself you are so over that and ready to make healthier food choice. Sure, you'll have to make yourself at first, then over time you will grow to love eating them. Trust me, everybody does. You just must stick with it.
It’s best to grow your own vegetables year-round, eat your vegetables raw and vine ripened. This way you know they are safe, where they come from and at the peek of freshness which will give you the most nutrient dense foods.
Here’s a good place to start. Look at this list of calorie negative and positive vegetables:
- asparagus (break it into bite sized pieces and add to salad)
- beets (grated)
- broccoli (throw it in the food processor with a couple of tomatoes as dressing)
- carrot (grated or whole)
- cauliflower (like broccoli)
- cabbage (used raw in coleslaw, but don't add the mayo!)
- celery stalks
- celery root (grated)
- lettuce, darkest in color
- red onions (sliced thin)
- zucchini (grate or use a spiralizer to create long pasta-like strings)
Eat them raw when possible this delivers the most nutrition and highest fiber making them among the most calorie postive and calorie negative foods. This is easy with fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries all have around 3 to 4 grams of fiber, Raspberries win the fiber race at 8 grams per cup. Exotic fruits are also good sources of fiber: A mango has 5 grams, a persimmon has 6, and 1 cup of guava has about 9.
Looking for an effortless way to get all those (recommended 13 servings) of fruits and vegetables in? Try eating every day a green smoothie for breakfast, nice fresh green salad for lunch with your meal and bowl of vegetable soup (raw) with your dinner or as a snack!
A big salad, soup and smoothie can all be made from 5-7 of those ingredients would give you a super low-calorie snack that would keep you munching and feeling full for a long time.
Still seem too hard all at once? Try this ...
Choose with caution. First, it is important to vary your diet and not eat too much of any one particular food on a daily basis. It’s recommended you eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nut and seeds every day. If you limit the variety of foods, you are likely to not be getting the complement of healthy nutrients available in a variety of foods.
Remember dieting and healthy is not synonymous. Most diet programs don’t make claims that include better health, just lower weight and most of the time these are stretched too. You best option is go for health, if you’re eating healthy most of the time you will love weight are a result of your excellent choices plus you’ll feel great too!
Your partner in health,
Cindy Cohen RN, BS BA
Certified Wellness Consultant
Certified Health Coach
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