How to Replace Empty Calories With Nutrient-Dense Foods

Within the last 100 years, there has been a rising trend of convenience in regards to food. Fast food, frozen meals, and more dominate the grocery store. However, these items are often filled with empty calories. If you want to give your body the most nutrients possible, take these tips into consideration.

Eat Whole Grain Rice and Pasta

Many of the base options for various meals contain empty calories without much nutritional value. An easy swap to make these options more filling and nutritious is to choose whole grain options instead. Instead of choosing a more refined and processed white rice or pasta, try a whole grain option instead. Brown rice is an excellent alternative to traditional white rice. It contains more protein, fiber, and manganese than white rice, all of which are essential vitamins for your body’s function. With pasta, there are several whole grain options you can choose from. Try whole wheat pasta, or even try making your own vegetable pasta. Zucchini noodles have become an increasingly popular pasta substitution.

Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are one of the most important food groups to consume regularly. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's My Plate Recommends individuals consume 4-5 servings of vegetables daily. However, many people don’t get these necessary vitamins because they don’t eat enough vegetables. If you’ve never had a vegetable that’s been cooked and flavored well, try looking up some new recipes and incorporating new ingredients. Leafy green vegetables contain essential vitamins that help strengthen your teeth. Incorporating them into your diet is essential for your overall nutrition. To sneak them into foods, try adding them to a smoothie. With all the other fruits and juices that flavor the smoothie, you won’t even taste the leafy greens. 

Focus on Whole Foods

Overall, it’s a good rule of thumb to focus on whole foods when you’re trying to eat nutritiously. Whole foods are food items that have been unprocessed and come straight from a natural source. Whole grains and vegetables are just a few examples of these. Focusing on whole foods means cutting out the processed, easily-accessible items you find in the grocery store. Instead, buy fresh ingredients to cook yourself meals. This allows you to be in control of exactly what’s going into your food. A trick for this is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is usually where the healthiest items are stored.

Trying to eat healthier and more nutritiously is a bit like a minefield. Everywhere you look there’s a new piece of information about what is and isn’t good to put into your body. However, focusing on these general rules listed above can help you to eat more nutrient dense foods and fuel your body properly.

Check out this article on 3 hidden dangers of the artificial additives in your food!

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