If you’re trying to have a healthier diet, one of the first places to start is getting rid of empty calories. Empty calories are calories that come from food with no nutritional value. Think soda and candy bars. These still count toward your daily calorie goal, but don’t provide anything of value to you, and with some things, like soda, you may not even realize how many calories you’re consuming. Here are three ways to get rid of empty calories in your diet.
Switch to seltzer
Cutting out soda and other sugary drinks is one of the easiest ways to get rid of empty calories in your diet. Some people enjoy the sweet taste and carbonation of soda and don’t want to switch to just drinking flat water all day. Swap out your soda for seltzer water. You’ll get the fizziness of soda but without all of the extra calories and sugar. There are tons of naturally flavored seltzer waters on the market so you can still enjoy a delicious beverage but know you’re making a much healthier choice.
Cook more meals
Cooking at home is a chore that many people hate doing. Ordering takeout or going to the new Mexican restaurant down the street is way more convenient than making meals at home. However, cooking your own meals will not only help you save money; it’ll help you cut out calories as well. When you eat at a restaurant, you don’t know exactly what they’re putting in the food, so it’s difficult to estimate how many calories it contains. When you cook at home, you can choose healthy options, and you know exactly how much sugar and fat are going into your meal. If you’re new to cooking and feel unsure in the kitchen, start with quick and easy meals and gradually work your way up to harder recipes.
Read nutrition labels
Many packaged foods put claims on the front that make you think the product is much healthier than it actually is, such as “fat-free” or “sugar-free.” If you just go by what the front of the box claims, it’s likely you’re taking in a lot more calories and other food additives than you thought. When buying packaged food items, always read the nutrition label to see what is actually inside the food. Begin with looking at the serving size; for many things, it’s a lot smaller than what you actually eat in a sitting. Then you can calculate how many calories you’re consuming when eating the product. Look at the ingredient list as well. Here you’ll find what kind of additives and hidden sweeteners are in the food. Familiarize yourself with the names used for artificial sweeteners, so you know what to be looking for.