Calorie Conundrum

Per Serving-01

So I was about half way through my rant about water and fiber, and soluble and insoluble ratios when I realized how dry it was. It was becoming more of a lecture than a blog post; hell, I was getting bored! But thank goodness for Ctrl+Alt+Del!

Though I stated that I would discuss these two topics (which, don’t get me wrong, getting enough of both is very important and I will come back to it, eventually) I figured I was getting a little ahead of myself. So instead, I’ve to decided to start at the beginning.

When it comes to eating right, most people start by looking at their calorie intake. They start counting calories, and restricting calories. This can be helpful if you know what the heck a calorie is.

People throw the word around so much but no one really understands what a calorie is. At the basic level, a calorie is a unit of measurement. Very much like an inch of space, or a pound of weight, there is a calorie of energy. It is the energy our body needs to survive. However, our bodies only need a certain amount of this energy (and every body needs a different amount), but if you add more than it needs, your body will save it for later, storing it as fat. Now, the thing with calories is that they’re not all the same.

When it comes to calories in food, there are two kinds: calories that provide the energy needed to live and calories that also provide your body with nutrients like vitamins and mineral (an example would be fruits or vegetables). All calories give our bodies the energy they need but not all give the vitamins and minerals. Because our bodies only need a limited amount of calories and a certain amount of vitamins and minerals, it’s better to get them both in one package. Essentially, some calories (nutrient-dense calories) will give you more bang for your buck.

Now what does this all mean for you readers? If you’re up for the challenge, try looking at some of the foods you eat and see if they’re nutrient-dense. The label in the back can help decide. By looking at the amount of fiber, vitamins, calcium, and iron that’s listed and going for the item with a higher percentage of each, you can choose the item that is more nutrient-dense (I’ll go into greater detail about these labels next week). Here are some examples of some nutrient-packed snacks that can fit in your truck:

  • Nuts: There’s some good nutrition stuffed into these crunchy bite-sized snacks. My only warning with nuts is to watch your salt intake, many of these are heavily salted when roasted. An easy way to reduce the salt intake (for you guys with high blood pressure) is to get the kind that is unsalted.
  • Trail-mix: these are perfect for snacking along the road. The salty-sweetness is tasty and better for you than most snack you’ll find at the truck stops.
  • Jerky: this stuff is packed with protein and because it’s dehydrated usually carries little fat and low calories, making it a great snack for the road.
  • Yogurt: the individual cups sold can keep for about a week or so in your fridge. It makes for a light and sweet snack that is packed with calcium and other good stuff for your bones and body.
  • Veggies: for those of you that are ready to take that bigger step toward a healthier lifestyle, carrot sticks and sugar snap peas can last about a week in your truck. Though they might not be readily available at truck stops, many Walmarts keep them stocked in their produce section. They’re very refreshing and crunchy, perfect for these hot summer days. They’re also packed with many vitamins and minerals, not to mention fiber (which can help keep you full longer!).

These are just a few snack options that can help you take a step in the right direction for your diet, but keep in mind, too much of anything thing can be bad. And when it comes to calories, remember to try to give your body more bang for its buck!

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