What is ‘energy-density’?
Basically, it means the number of calories per gram of that particular food. Foods with low energy density provide fewer calories per gram than foods with high energy densities. For the same amount of cals, you can consume a much larger portion of a food low in energy density than a food high in energy density.
Research reviews show: eating a diet rich in low-energy-dense foods can help manage body weight.
Low-energy-dense diets help people lower their total calorie intake while still staying ‘full’ feeling and controlling hunger.
Meal plans low in energy density can be nutritionally sound.
Many people think that because you consume a diet low in energy density that you aren’t getting much nutritional value. Nonsense!!!! Quite the contrary. Just because weight loss is a common goal of a meal plan like this, nutritional quality is of equal importance. People who limit their calorie intake but do not eat a variety of nutrient-rich, low-energy-dense food often have inadequate micro-nutrient intakes.
People consuming lower-energy-dense foods eat a balanced diet by making specific choices within each food group, generally choosing foods that are low in fat, dense in micro-nutrients, or have a high water content. These choices lead to higher intakes of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate than with foods consumed in a higher-energy-dense diet.
Creating a meal plan low in energy density:
- Incorporate a large number of vegetables into meals. Choose spinach, cruciferous veggies, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and melons. Broth-based soups are also low in energy density, are filling, and low calorie. Choose these foods as snacks and appetizers.
- Round out meals by adding starching veggies, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and low fat dairy foods. These are important to your health!!!!
- Pay attention to portion sizes of fried foods, including vegetables! Also, non whole grains, dairy not reduced in fat, and fattier cuts of meat. These CAN be part of a healthy meal plan when consumed only occasionally or in small portions.
- DO NOT EAT OFTEN —-> foods with very little moisture, such as crackers, cookies, chips, as well as high fat foods like croissants, margarine, and bacon (oh my God I know, I love bacon). Also, very important to pay particular attention to the portion sizes of these foods. These kinds of foods provide a LOT of calories relative to their weight and are easily over-consumed. Foods such as olives and nuts, which have a relatively high amount of good fatty acids, CAN be a part of your meal plan as long as you consume them in moderate proportions.
Stay tuned for another installment coming tomorrow for Strategies to lower Energy Density!!!!
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding fitness or nutrition! My inbox is always open!