It’s the Monday following New Year’s Eve and you know what that means? Diet time! I’m sure I’m not the only one that wants to reach a healthier weight this year. A while back I came across an interesting factoid:
Snacking, especially beverage consumption outside of a regular meal, continues to increase among Americans, accounting for more than 25% of calorie intake each day, according to research presented at the 2011 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo®.
Just how many calories does that add up to? I did some calculations using www.fitday.com. The amount of calories I eat to maintain my weight is about 2300. 25% of that is 625 calories! If I cut out 500 calories a day that would add up to 1 pound of weight loss per week! Therefore, I should be able to eat “normal” meals and substitute my regular snacks with low calorie versions and lose weight fairly painlessly.
I’ve been scouring the internet for some low-cal snack ideas and here’s what I’ve found:
Kiwi=46 calories. Here’s a fun fact: Kiwis are actually giant berries. They pack fiber, potassium and vitamin E, as well as more than a day’s worth of vitamin C and more than one-third of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K. For maximum nutritional benefit, consume them whole—skin and all.
Strawberries = 1 cup of whole strawberries is 46 calories. Packed with antioxidants, which protect you against cancer and memory loss, and immunity-boosting vitamin C, these little rubies make for a perfect low-calorie sweet treat. You could eat an entire pound of succulent strawberries for roughly the same number of calories you’d get in a measly half-cup of vanilla ice cream.
Star fruit = approximately 28 calories, Sweet as candy and lower in calories (a piece of fruit contains fewer calories than two Jolly Ranchers), this exotic Asian fruit is high in vitamin C and contains three grams of dietary fiber. It’s also a great source of polyphenols, antioxidants that fight cardiovascular inflammation.
Plums = 46 calories. Plums may be nutritionally weaker than other stone fruits but they’re also the lowest in calories, containing about half the amount you’d find in peaches, apricots and nectarines. And they contain antioxidants as well as small amounts of fiber and vitamins A, C and K.
Cottage cheese = 4oz or 113g is 81 calories. Containing about one-fifth of the calories you’ll find in most cheeses, cottage cheese is a clear low-calorie winner in the dairy department. Sure, you won’t get as many vitamins as you will with fruits and vegetables, but cottage cheese still makes a good low-calorie, high-protein snack, packing 3 grams of protein per ounce. Just be careful: A regular version also contains about 20% of your day’s salt requirement so you’ll want to stick with low-sodium versions.
Bell peppers = 30 calories. In just one cup of chopped bell pepper you’ll get more vitamin C than you would from an orange at about only a third of the calories. Not to mention that green peppers are cheaper than their red, yellow and orange counterparts. A green pepper also packs dietary fiber, a little bit of protein and some vitamin A.
Broccoli = A single stalk of this cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetable packs 3 grams of protein—about as much as an ounce of chicken breast. Eat a cup and you’ll get a hearty dose of calcium, as well as manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. And that’s in addition to its high concentration of vitamins, including A, C and K.
More foods listed here: http://fitbie.msn.com/slideshow/25-shockingly-low-calorie-foods
I’ve also heard this idea that a food can be a “negative calorie” food. According to Wikipedia:
Foods that are claimed to be negative in calories are mostly low-calorie fruits and vegetables such as celery grapefruit, lemon, lime, apple, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage. There is no scientific evidence to show that any of these foods have a negative calorific impact. Celery has a thermic effect of around 8%, much less than the 100% or more required for a food to have “negative calories”. A stalk of celery provides 6 calories to the body, but the body expends only half of a single calorie digesting it. Even proteins, which require the most energy to digest, only have a thermic energy of 20%-30%. …Diets based on negative calorie food do not work as advertised, but can lead to weight loss because they satisfy hunger by filling the stomach with food that has a lower calorie count per volume. The only truly negative calorie beverage is ice water, which has no calories but requires the body to expend some energy to raise the liquid to body temperature.
There is no magic pill here. Basically, all of this adds up to a diet rich in low-starch fruits and vegetables. Sadly, scientists have yet to invent negative calorie chocolate 😦 But a girl can dream! Star Trek science, where are you when we need you!