The Equality Of The Calorie

Calories. You can’t see a label on a food package, or now days be in a restaurant, without noticing the calorie count. If you are someone who “diets” then you might be controlled by counting calories in your day and monitoring them in the foods you eat or you may go through your day oblivious to them.

You may be waking up right now trying to get your first cup of coffee in and wondering why on earth we’re talking about calories already and “Oh my word… is she really holding a powdered donut in her hand with a box of spinach??”  as you note the picture I’m using for todays post.

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Yes. That’s a powdered donut. Yes, I find them kinda tasty… occasionally.

 

Yeah, you aren’t seeing things and yes we are considering calories in todays post.

But first.. what IS a calorie?

You ever realize there are things you “know” about, but don’t necessarily “think” about?  Like, calories have been a part of our lives forever, but do you really sit around pondering them? Other than understanding to many of them make you fat and to few make you skinny?

Simplified, a calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy people get from the food and drink they consume and the energy they use through physical activities.

Calories are essential for human health. The key for all of us is consuming the right amount for our health and daily activities.

There are “standard” guidelines put out suggesting what men and women need as an average each day. I  don’t entirely agree with that since I think caloric intake is really determined person to person based on many different factors including sex, age, size and activity level.

I may be a woman, but based on my physical training, there are probably many days I require more calories than a lot of men. I also know there are days I need less calories based on my daily activities. For me, not every day will have the exact same calorie need. Understanding your body, knowing what you do, and all other factors will play into what you need each day.

 

calorie

Other calorie facts….

People in the U.S. consume more than 11% of their daily calories from fast food.  😦

Foods high in energy and low in nutritional value provide empty calories. The parts of food that provide empty calories contain virtually no dietary fiber, amino acids, anti-oxidants, dietary minerals, or vitamins.

That being said… you shouldn’t be eating many of these foods on the daily…

Meaning, not all calories are created equal

Now back to that powdered donut….

I’m not ignorant of calories, I have a good rough estimate of what my body needs to operate on. I also understand that my caloric needs vary as to if I’m laying around for the day or if I’ve put in a lot of miles that morning on foot or bike, or both. I know that on given days my needs can look different. It’s been a road of learning on that issue.

I do not obsess over calories. I know and understand their place in my life but I don’t monitor and count them

No. Just no.

But one morning I had this revelation. I was stumbling around the kitchen and I wanted one of those donuts.

I like them, ok?  Don’t judge me.

There’s just something about their sweet powdery goodness that gets to me.  And I’ll tell you, not all are created equal either. I bought a different brand one time, took one bite of one, and didn’t touch them after that. Yuck.

But as I was drooling all over one eating it, I happened to actually glance at the calorie content on bag.

I mean, who really looks at that when they are stuffing donuts in their face?

Oh no, ignorance is bliss in that regard. Am I right my donut loving friends??

Well I couldn’t help but notice how it informed me that 4 of them would cost me….250 calories.

I did a double take. I thought my beady little eyes weren’t open fully yet and were misreading ’cause I’m old and that print isn’t what it used to be, ya know?

Nope, it was there big and bold. 250cal for 4 measly little delicious donuts.

I should mention, I never actually eat 4. Usually 2 is enough to satisfy that urge and I put them away. But it got me to thinking of foods I could have that delivered up a lot more volume and bang for my caloric buck.

I mean really, if you only get a certain number in a day, don’t you want them to have as much packed into them as possible?

Not all calories are created equal

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As mentioned above, empty calorie foods don’t contain the healthy nutrients your body needs. They are often high in fats ( not the good kinds) and sugars. Therefore, foods we eat each day should be nutrient dense and contain the calories we need for good health and sustaining our daily activities.

If I chose 4 small donuts at 250 calories, (130 of those coming from fat) that certainly isn’t going fill me up and will most likely cause my blood sugar to spike then I’ll come off the sugar rush.

Now consider my carton of spinach. A serving size is considered 3 cups. It contains 20 calories.

20 calories… for 3 cups.

I could honestly consume the whole carton for less than 100 calories.

Now you’re sitting there thinking… “spinach vs. donuts??” no contest… I’d take the donuts.

I can tell you this, when I use a lot of spinach with other veggies, whipped up with some eggs for breakfast not only is my appetite satisfied, I’m not hungry for a long time. I can consume plenty of food because ( not all calories are equal remember?) meaning all those veggies and protein fill me up and keep me satisfied for hours without any of that sluggish feeling you may get eating things like donuts or pancakes or cereals and for only a small fraction of the calories.

Not to mention all those veggies, fruits and protein deliver lots of good things to feed my body in a healthy way that gives me plenty of energy and keeps me decently lean.

It’s a win/win thing.

I’m not sure about you, but I’d like to eat a decent amount of food that fills me up, but isn’t calorie laden either.

So it’s a matter of choices….

Whether you’re out to lose some weight, or just maintain a healthy place where you are now it all comes down to the caloric choices we make each day.

You can eat a whole lot of nutrient dense foods that offer tons of good health benefits for your body, that really fill you up and will contribute to weight loss or you can choose foods that are higher calorie, less nutrients and will not help you lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle.

A few things to consider;

pay attention to those labels. Note the serving sizes and calories for serving. People as a rule greatly over estimate a correct serving size.

Consider things you can swap out for a lower and healthy calorie count.

Find foods you can eat and enjoy that give you the most bang for your calorie buck.

Have a good working idea of how many calories you personally need each day to maintain or to lose weight then choose your foods wisely to support your goals and daily activities.

And hey, remember, it’s ok to have that donut now and then. 😉

How aware of you are calories Do you think about them? Do you count them?

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Spinach Benefits And Great Hair

Today boys and girls we’re gonna talk about food. One thing I have decided and I know is this: I won’t ever be led to be a food blogger but if I’m going to be a blogger who talks about healthy nutrition, I will most likely share some food posts at some point.

Don’t expect cute, cool food pics from me haha.. well maybe.

Earlier today I was updating some boards on my Pinterest account and came across a tasty sounding breakfast recipe, Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake. This was rather handy since I was out early for my yoga class, which unbeknownst to me, was not happening when I got there.

So plan B?  Go get some coffee and rearrange some of my boards. A quick assessment showed me I had all the ingredients needed for this recipe so I hurried home to make it ’cause I was like… you know.. hungry.

This breakfast contained several of my favorite things : Spinach, eggs, and cheese.

Now don’t go getting all weird on me with the mention of spinach. Since I’m about healthy foods, let’s just take a quick look at what spinach can do for us, shall we?

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I seriously go through about two of these cartons a week… on my own.

 

What’s in that leafy green goodness?

Low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. In other word, it’s loaded with good things for every part of your body!

Spinach is appreciated for the high amount of protein in its leaves.

Among vegetables, only peas and beans contain more protein than spinach.

Spinach is made up of 91.4% water, 3.6% carbs, 2.9% protein, and 0% fat.

A hundred grams of spinach has only twenty-three calories, which makes it an excellent choice for people who want to slim down

What health benefits does it offer?

Popeye was definitely on to something with his spinach consumption.  Spinach is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package. Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair and bone health. Dark leafy greens also provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.

The possible health benefits of consuming spinach include improving blood glucose control in people with diabetes, lowering the risk of cancer, reducing blood pressure, improving bone health, lowering the risk of developing asthma, and more.

But check this out…

Spinach leaves are also very rich in vitamin K, as a hundred grams contains 604% of the daily value intake.

Vitamin K is vital for your health, since it strengthens the bones and stimulates the bones’ osteotropic activity. Spinach also provides better calcium absorption and even helps maintain your calcium levels in check.

At this rate I should never have a broken hip.

If you love your bones, you really want to make spinach a part of your daily intake.

Vitamin A helps in sebum production to keep your hair moisturized.

This vitamin is also  necessary for the development of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair, both of which never stop to regenerate.

Besides, vitamin C found in spinach is vital in producing and maintaining collagen, which gives your hair and skin proper structure.

I mean, who doesn’t want amazing hair and skin ???

I could go on here about the benefits….

Spinach offers so much more but if I keep on I’ll never get to my recipe and how tasty it was.

I’m just trying to sell you on what a good food choice it is to add to your daily diet. If you only eat it in a creamy spinach dip, you’re missing out! Consider other ways you can eat it too 😉

Spinach makes appearances at almost all of my meals and is most always a part of my veggie scramble at breakfast.

It has replaced lettuce in my lunch salads. And it makes a wonderful add in to so many things.

So let’s get to the recipe….

Find it here…. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/439523244868061922/

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You just need a few simple ingredients

 

It really took just a few minutes to whip it up and toss in the oven. I did use more spinach than the recipe called for because although it does cook down and I didn’t  over cook it, I honestly thought it could handle more. I basically doubled up on the spinach and even add more green onions ’cause those little things are just tasty AND good for you too.

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Ready to go to the oven. Isn’t my dish all matchy matchy with the food ? 😉

 

It has a short baking time so you won’t have to wait long to savor it’s yummy goodness AND it gives you time to quickly clean up and get the rest of your meal ready for when it’s finished.

 

 

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Time to eat. I wish you could smell it.

As you can see I paired it with fresh fruit and (what you don’t see that I also like) salsa/hot sauce, added to the egg bake.

Eating tasty, healthy meals doesn’t have to be boring or bland. A willingness to experiment can lead you on new adventures and a slimmer waist line 😉

Have you experimented with a new food recently? Did you like it?