Many of us think about new goals in January and hopefully staying healthy is on your list. Fitness training is an energizing way to recover from the holiday season, so please do get in touch with DK personal training to learn how exercise and personal training can help.
Combining your exercise programme with nutritious food is the best way to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight all year long. But how do you know what foods to eat to keep fit and satisfy your hunger?
Energy density is a strategy worth considering as part of your 2016 fitness goals. It involves choosing foods based on their calorie density to help you eat more without additional calories. The Mayo Clinic states ‘High energy density means that there are a lot of calories in a little food. Low energy density means there are few calories in a lot of food.’
For example, a cup of raisins has about 434 calories, but a cup of grapes has about 82 calories. The raisins have a high energy density while the grapes have a low energy density. This means that choosing to satisfy your hunger with a cup of one fruit instead of another can make a big difference.
Take a look at the Mayo Clinic’s food pyramid for recommendations on how to use the energy density principle to maintain a healthy weight. Vegetables and fruits feature as essential parts of healthy eating, with room for carbohydrates, protein and dairy, certain fats and small amounts of sweets. With an aim to eat more volume but consume fewer calories, try choosing foods with low energy density:
Vegetables – Add salad greens, asparagus, green beans, broccoli or courgette to your pastas and sandwiches and snack on raw veggies.
Fruits – Avoid fruit juices and dried fruits as they are concentrated sources of natural sugar. Add blueberries to your breakfasts, toss orange and peach slices into your salads and slice mango on whole-wheat toast.
Carbohydrates – Choose whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereal. Many carbs have high energy density so be careful with portion sizes.
Protein and dairy – Try foods that are high in protein but low in fat such as beans, peas, lentils, fish, poultry and egg whites.
Fats – Fats have high energy density, but some are healthier than others including nuts, seeds, olive oil, flaxseed oil and safflower oil.
Sweets – At the very top of the pyramid, sweets also have high energy density. But for those undeniable cravings, try fresh fruit with low-fat yogurt, a scoop of low-fat ice cream or a small piece of dark chocolate.
And remember that exercise plays a key role in a healthy lifestyle. Combining a physical training programme with nutritious food choices multiplies the benefits of both. So let’s get moving in 2016!