Good Calories vs. Bad Calories

“I am on a 1200-calorie diet and find it very difficult,” a friend confided. Which is why I try not to get hung up on calories per se. There are days when I am able to keep it down to 1000-1200 calories a day, but it is seldom a nutritionally balanced diet. My husband and I love food and enjoy cooking too much to diet. But I can find a good balance at 1500 calories/day.

It turns out that on days when I didn’t have the appetite or time to eat … such as when I was stressing over my son’s IEP meeting … my body was undernourished. When I give in to cravings I end up loading on carbs and salt. When I steered clear of dairy and meat to keep my cholesterol down I end up eating more carbs and salty food, so it is a vicious cycle.

The key is to eat smart: focus on foods rich in nutrients and which boost metabolism, cut down on foods that are “empty calories,” because they usually add to belly fat.

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This is my power breakfast, it’s what I’ve been eating six days a week for months, although the Chia seeds are a recent addition. When combined with green tea and honey this breakfast is 562 calories, but it’s loaded with fat burning nutrients.

And because I am willing to sacrifice my body for the worthy cause of comparing calories in foods we also ate at Shakeys. This plate with a slice of cheese pizza, 3 slices of mojos, and 2 pcs chicken wings (my weakness) is 561 calories, and loaded with fat, protein, and sodium.

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Here are the two meals with the same amount of calories, and their nutrition analysis by Caloriecount.about.com:

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