In a world where meals have been super sized, fast food outlets available on every street corner and pre-packaged meals ready for you to eat in the supermarket, it’s not difficult to exceed our daily calorie requirements. The average daily requirement of calories is about 2000. This amount will vary between your height, weight and activity level and whether you are trying to maintain a healthy weight or wanting to lose or gain weight.
Not all calories are created equal. Calories that come from fast food, junk food and things like chocolate, sweets, chips and burgers is bad for you. Calories that come from fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains are much better for your health and weight. Unfortunately, nowadays many people consume the type of calories that come from fast food or processed foods which means they are exceeding their calorie requirements.
By learning the calorie content of different food products we are able to make better decisions about the food that we put in our mouths. There’s no need to memorise every number of calories for every food that you consume, this would be tedious and impractical. Instead we can get a general overview of what type of foods are low in calories – vegetables, fruit, lean chicken breast, egg whites, brown rice or buckwheat, and those which are high in calories – white flour products, cakes, burgers, fries, and more.
When we eat two or three meals a day we are more likely to exceed our calorie requirements. In order to avoid exceeding your calorie requirements, split your day up with six small meals. Breakfast lunch and dinner could be about 350 calories, and three small snacks, each worth about 200 calories. This way your body doesn’t have a chance to get hungry and over indulge in excess calories.
People who drink soft drinks and alcohol regularly tend to exceed their calorie requirements. Soft drinks are liquid form but they sometimes contain more calories than a main meal. Instead of drinking cola, sugared juices, lemonade or cocktails, choose water, 100% fruit juice, green tea and black coffee, a glass of white or red wine to lower your consumption of calories. A glass of juice at breakfast, cola with lunch and two cocktails after work can easily exceed 1000 calories and that’s not even counting meals.
You can avoid exceeding your calorie requirements by making smarter choices when it comes to food and drink. Educate yourself about what’s quality food and avoid the take out variety which is usually laden with unwanted and hidden calories.