Calories are a foundation of health - the trick is knowing the right amount (and right source) to consume each day. Everyone has different energy outputs depending on age, sex, size, and activity level, so there’s no one-size-fits all answer when it comes to cal count!
The energy to perform vital body functions comes from what we feed our system, and our organs would not be able to carry out the basic processes needed for living if we did not consume calories - numbers attached to calories tell us how much potential energy different foods contain.
There are plenty of online resources to help you determine the amount of calories you should ideally consume each day, though that’s not enough to ensure body changes in the right direction. For example, one bag of chips could be around 300 calories, where 1/2 lb of chicken contains around 400 calories: which do you think is the better option for weight loss?
Not All Calories Are Created Equally!
The three types of calories your body needs, being fats, carbs and proteins, are all processed differently once ingested. Each has a unique function on their own.
If you don't eat enough protein calories but you over do it on the carbohydrates, the proteins can't do their job efficiently which then stores the surplus carb calories straight into your fat cells. This is the quick route to weight gain and muscle loss! Too much or too little of all three calories will have negative side effects on the body.
Instead of counting calories, focus on more nutritious foods! Choosing more fresh whole foods, lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats is way more sustainable than obsessing over each calorie you eat.
It's not hard to go overboard on calories considering how easy it is to access packaged, processed foods, so it's important to learn about how many calories your individual body requires to maintain a healthy weight. When shopping in the grocery store, stick to the perimeter of the store. It is filled with more nutritious and less processed foods.
It's Healthy And...
You can also over do some foods and I am not taking the unhealthy ones. too much of anything isn't great for you. Trust me, there is nothing better than finding out one of your favorite foods is both healthy and delicious. However, some of your favorite foods should still be consumed in moderation. Here are a few high-calorie foods you can still enjoy and should monitor how much you consume.
Did you know the recommend serving of an avocado is only 1/3! Trust me, I am guilty of eating much more than that too! You know I love my avocado toast! To put it into perspective a whole avocado can be anywhere from 240 to 400 calories and up to 24 grams of fat.
Avocados are loaded with potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E and are also a good source of fiber. They can be easy to over eat because of their density meaning that it has higher calories in a smaller portion size. While healthy fat isn't something to shy away from, it is something to keep an eye on. The calories and fat content of avocados can add up quickly if you are eating them every single day.
While nuts are considered fat, they are comprised of mostly monosaturated and polysaturated fats. These are heart healthy fats which could lower your risk of heart disease. That being said, have you ever had only 1 handful of nuts? While they are considered a healthy snack, it is very easy to go overboard and have more than what you actually should.
The typical serving size for nuts is about 1/4 cup. There are 238 calories in 1/4 cup of almonds! More than what you thought right?! As long as you are practicing proper portion control, adding nuts into your diet isn't going to de-rail your progress, however it is something to monitor.
Quinoa has found its way in to many peoples kitchens as a replacement for rice and pasta. Known as a superfood, quinoa contains twice as much fiber as other grains! Sounds like a good thing right? High fiber foods are good for your diet, however a high fiber intake reduces your body's ability to absorb key nutrients!
Too much fiber in your body can result in stomach pains, bloating and diarrhea. If you are planning on adding fiber to your diet, it is recommended to add it in over time. This gives time for the natural bacteria in your stomach time to adjust. Recommended intake of fiber a day for women is 25 grams and for men it is 38.
Olive oil is know for its many health benefits and is a staple in the kitchen. It contains monosaturated fats which is important to our diets and cell maintenance. This nutrient also helps your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K. Just be aware of its high calorie and fat content if you want to maintain a healthy weight!
One tablespoon of olive oil has 119 calories and 14 grams of fat. It can be easy to over it on the oil while cooking if you aren't actually measuring how much you are using! Keep in mind, consuming too much can have a negative effect on how the body metabolizes fats. Moderation is the key to enjoying the benefits of olive oil! Some olive oils have more health benefits that others. To maximize health benefits, choose extra virgin olive oil.
Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious. They provide fiber, proteins, healthy fats and are rich in antioxidants. One serving of chia seeds is around 2.5 tablespoons and contains 140 calories. With chia seeds being so small, it is very easy to over eat them. Consuming too many, too frequently can lead to weight gain.
Due to their richness in fiber, eating too many chia seeds can be associated with negative digestive symptoms like gas and bloating. They are very beneficial when consumed in moderation. Try adding into your yogurt or smoothies here and there to obtain the nutritional benefit without adding too many calories to your day!
What's The Common Theme?
What do all 5 of these foods have in common?! You don't have to stop eating them! All you need to do is eat them in with balance! How boring would life be if we couldn't eat avocados?! I mean come on! These foods all have multiple nutritional benefits and are great additions to any nutrition plan. Consuming them in moderation is the best way to reap all the benefits while still being able to enjoy your favorite foods!
What are some of your favorite healthy foods that you enjoy in moderation?
Let me know in the comments!