Nutrition vs caloric density: Making the most of your food choices

When dieting, selecting the right foods can make your time much easier. The two key factors in determining the foods I eat are the nutritional content and the amount of calories. I like to pack as many nutrients as possible into the calories that I am eating rather than consuming “empty calories.” Of course, processed junk food offers high caloric density with hardly any micro and macro nutrients; however, nutritional foods do not always equate to low calorie foods.

peanut butter vs greek yogurt

There are many healthy food options that pack tons of calories to be aware of in your journey. Things like nuts and avocados, which are certainly nutritious snack options, also have high-fat contents. Cheese and other dairy are promoted as super healthy, but they pack on the calories very quickly. Opt for reduced-fat or skim versions when possible. Juices are another source of “healthy” high-calorie options. They have tons of sugar without the fiber of actual fruit. All of these examples are still ok to eat, but you just have to be aware to consume them with moderation.

Calories per ounce in different foods

Food Calories Food Calories
Peanuts 161 Grapes 19
Almonds 163 Chicken 47
Peanut Butter 167 Egg 38
Almond Butter 174 Donut 130
Orange Juice 14 Zucchini 5
2% Milk 14 Skim Milk 10
Yogurt 28 Greek Yogurt 17

(calculated from nutrition labels on Wikipedia)

In situations where there is junk food around, I like to think of what I could eat instead of that donut in the break room.  I could eat almost three times as much chicken or around 7 times as much greek yogurt, both of which have much higher amounts protein. A lot of my food choices are based around eating the most food for the smallest amount of calories, but everyone should decide for themselves how much they want to eat compared to what they want to eat.

Stay consistent out there

-Preston

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