Who doesn't want to fill up on fewer calories? Find out how eating the right foods can help you do just that!
Energy density is just another way to say caloric density — after all calories provide energy. In a nutshell: It is the number of calories in the amount or weight of food you eat. Foods that don't have a lot of calories packed into each bite — like fruits and vegetables — are low in energy density. They also tend to be low in fat and high in water or fiber content. Foods high in energy density pack a lot of calories into a small volume of food; these include fatty foods, such as many fast foods, and foods high in sugar, such as sodas and candies.
How full you feel is determined by the volume and weight of food — not by the number of calories you consume. If you choose foods with low energy density — few calories for their bulk — you can eat more volume but consume fewer calories because of two key factors:
Use these visual comparisons to help guide your selections.
For about 300 calories, you could have...
High-density meal: A single large glazed doughnut
Low-density meal: A bowl of bran flakes with skim milk, blueberries and a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter
For about 275 calories, you could have...
High-density meal: A candy bar
Low-density meal: A warm bowl of soup, loaded with fiber-rich beans and vegetables
For about 600 calories, you could have...
High-density meal: A bacon cheeseburger
Low-density meal: A sandwich with soup, fresh fruits and veggies, and a few crackers
For about 150 calories, you could have...
High-density snack: 1 ounce of potato chips
Low-density snack: 3 1/2 cups of air-popped popcorn
As you can see, you can eat fewer calories yet feel more satisfied by choosing foods that are low in energy density — in other words, you can have more food. Try reducing the fat and increasing the amount of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in your favorite dishes.