Empty Calories

Empty calories. We love them, but they don’t love us.  You might think that an empty calorie refers to a food that is low in calories. However, these types of food choices offer little or no nutritional value. For example, a nutrition bar and a candy bar may have the same number of calories, but where the nutritional bar contains fiber and some vitamins and minerals essential to good nutrition, the candy bar may be completely comprised of sugar.

Hence, the name –empty calories. We recommend that you practice moderation and control by giving yourself a limit of 3–5 times per week and pre-plan as often as possible.  Your action plan is to eliminate one “Empty Calorie” food everyday (EC).

What are examples of EC’s? Regular soft drinks, Candy, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Fruit drinks, such as fruitades and fruit punch , ice cream, sweetened yogurt , sweetened milk, sweet rolls and cinnamon toast.

We’re not saying completely cut these foods from your eating habits, because we feel that’s unrealistic. Special occasion foods, snacks and beverages are a part of any practical and healthy lifestyle. However, these foods provide lots of empty calories with very little nutritional value. Sharp label reading skills are a must to work in your favorite snacks! 

First, read the serving size at the top of the label. Second, read the calories per serving. Know how much you’re eating and how many calories that serving size will add to your day. You can always adjust the serving size to keep the calories where you want them.  Here's a few examples to stay under 100 calories that can be worked into the day.

  • 25 M&M’s
  • 15 Jellybeans
  • Two handfuls of Chocolate Raisins
  • 1/2 an apple spread with 2 tsp. peanut butter
  • 2 inch slice Sponge cake
  • half cup Non-Fat fruit yogurt
  • half cup Sherbet
  • Single serving Fat-Free pudding cup,
  • Fruit bar
  • Whole wheat toast with 1 tsp. sugar-free spread
  • Single serving of Apple Sauce.                          

Keep in mind, when you eat snacks they usually take the place of a healthier food choice. The calories are still counted and added to your daily total. So, when snacks are eaten, you’re going to have to eliminate another food to accommodate the extra calories coming in from the snack.

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