It's well-known that counting calories is not the best strategy for losing weight and keeping it off in the long term. However, it still helps to be calorie-aware, as this allows you to select nutrient-dense, low-calorie meals when planning your meals.
These are the foods that will boost your health and help you manage your weight; you can eat them freely without worrying that they'll pack on the pounds.
Here are 5 nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods to work into your meal planning.
One medium grapefruit is less than 100 calories, and it provides vitamins A and C, and potassium, which your body uses in many different functions. Instead of reaching for a donut or candy bar when you're looking for a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, go with grapefruit. It's refreshing and more filling, too.
An entire cup of blueberries is less than 100 calories, so it's another great choice when you're looking for something sweet to snack on. Along with antioxidants that offer protection against cell damage, the dark, rich colour of blueberries is a signal that they are a good source of beneficial phytonutrients, the health-promoting nutrients that give plant foods their distinct colours, flavours and smells.
Leafy Greens: Kale, Bok Choy, Swiss Chard, Spinach, etc.:
Most leafy greens are extremely low in calories. That means you could easily have two platefuls of something like kale or spinach, without even reaching 50 calories! These vegetables are especially nutrient-dense, packed with vitamins and minerals that will boost your energy, while keeping you looking and feeling good.
If one particular leafy green vegetable doesn't appeal to you, try another one; they each have their own unique flavour. Cooking them with onions or garlic will also enhance the taste, as will adding a splash of lemon juice once cooked.
One tomato only has about 25 calories, so it's an excellent food to add to the menu. Tomatoes contain lutein, which supports eye health, and lycopene, which helps protect against cancer. For an easy tomato salad: sprinkle chopped tomatoes with basil and oregano (fresh or dried), some olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper.
Depending on the size, an entire broccoli crown only has 30-40 calories. A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, broccoli provides fibre to support digestive health, and it's a good source of vitamin C. It also has cancer-fighting properties. Prepare it quickly with a few minutes of steaming; or add it to a stir-fry or casserole.
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