Do you meticulously count calories to stay fit? We hate to break it to you, but a 150-calorie brownie is not the same as 150 calories worth of broccoli. But what about that age-old weight loss saying, “Calories in vs. calories out?” Well, it’s true that a calorie is a calorie regardless of its source, but not all calories have the same effect on your body, and that’s the real key! Here’s what you should be eating to get the most bang for your calorie’s buck:
Make Friends With Fiber. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are fiber-rich foods you want in your grocery cart. Fiber requires more chewing, which means your brain has more time to get the “full” signal and prevent you from overeating. And since fiber takes longer to digest, the calories in whole-grain toast go farther than the calories in a candy bar. The end result? You feel satisfied longer.
Choose Healthy Fats. Healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds are by no means considered low-calorie, but when eaten in moderation, they make you feel fuller longer and stop overeating. And while saturated fats and trans fats raise cholesterol, unsaturated fats actually aid in muscle recovery, improve hair and skin quality, and are important for a healthy heart. Can a 100-calorie snack pack do all that like half an avocado? Nope.
Polish Off Protein. Protein is one of your body’s biggest allies. Not only do you burn more calories digesting and metabolizing protein than any other nutrient, but protein leaves you feeling fuller longer than eating an equally calorie-dense carbohydrate. Are you starting to see a theme? Plus, protein helps feed muscles, and the more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism burns calories. You can get high-quality protein from plant-based sources such as whole-grains, nuts, vegetables and legumes, and also animal-based sources like low-fat dairy, white meat poultry, lean beef and eggs.