What Should I Eat?
Looking for ways to reduce high-calorie, low-nutrition meals? Think fresh, fun and filling
Planning makes perfect
Making meals count is important. You want your meals to be satisfying, nutritious, nice-looking, and tasty. Otherwise, you may feel like you are missing out. The good news is that you can eat a large variety of nutritious, delicious food.
Many people like to feel full when they eat. If this sounds like you, a well-planned meal will probably do the job. You may actually eat more food when eating sensible meals and still lose weight. For example, your meal may comprise the following:
- Starter: a green salad
- Entrée: baked chicken breast, baked potato with butter buds and dried chives, and grilled or steamed squash and carrots
- Dessert: fresh strawberries and melon
Eating a sensible meal can mean eating a fun meal, a delicious meal, and a meal that makes you feel good.
Stay on track with a food planner and tracker
You can lose weight on any plan that allows you to stay below your daily calorie goal. In consultation with your healthcare provider, you can put together your own eating plan. A food planner and tracker can help you find out the number of calories in a wide variety of different foods. You can find healthy recipes in lots of places, like magazines, books, and Web sites.
You may start by eating lots of "low-energy-density" foods, which have a low number of calories for their weight. Studies have shown that a low-energy-density diet can help you lose weight. What’s more, you may be less hungry on a low-energy-density eating plan than on other eating plans! If you reduce both the energy density of your food choices and your portion size, you could eat even less without feeling any hungrier, which may help you lose weight faster.
How do you find low-energy-density foods and watch out for high-energy-density ones? Low-energy-density foods—like fruit, vegetables, and broth-based soups—contain lots of water. Water has no calories (energy), so the water in a food adds weight but not energy. Because fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, foods that are high in fat—like butter and fudge—tend to be high in energy density.
You could try starting meals with a low-energy-density food like fruit, soup, or salad. If you start a meal with soup or a light salad, you may eat less overall and still be satisfied. If you choose fruit, try to eat whole fruit; it can be more effective than applesauce or apple juice in helping you eat less.
Make low-energy-density eating central to your plan
Finally, you could also reduce the energy density of foods you prepare at home. Try to:
- Add extra vegetables to pasta dishes
- Double the lettuce and tomato on your sandwich
- Mix peas into your mac and cheese
- Add chopped fruits or berries to batter for muffins or cakes
- Be generous with the fruit on your breakfast cereal
- Look out for ways to use less butter or oil!