When you’re choosing to cut calories, obtaining the proper nutrition means selecting the right foods as well as regulating the amount of calories you ingest. Below are some helpful tips to do just that.
Optimal Nutrition Your Body Needs for Weight Loss
To function, your body requires complete nutrition from foods and beverages consisting of vitamins A through E, vitamin K, and minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc — just to name a few. All of these vitamins and minerals are necessary for your body to function properly, but some of them may help during your weight loss ventures.
You want to consume nutritious foods high in vitamins from the B complex because they’re essential for your metabolism. These vitamins help your body to process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and use stored energy. Vitamins in this group include the following:
- Niacin (B-3
- Thiamine (B-1)
- Riboflavin (B-2
- Pantothenic acid (B-5)
- Biotin (B-9)
- Folic acid (B-9)
- Cobalamin (B-12)
- Biotin (B-7)
For your body’s cells to convert carbohydrates into energy, you need thiamine. If you don’t receive an adequate amount, your metabolism won’t work optimally, so you’re not burning all of the calories you could.
Riboflavin is another B-vitamin necessary for energy metabolism. It breaks down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Another vitamin needed for metabolism is vitamin D, but researchers aren’t quite sure why it helps with metabolism as of now. Studies indicate a lower than average level of vitamin D in obese people. Additionally, studies concluded after taking vitamin and calcium supplements, individuals lost a significantly greater amount of stomach fat than obese people who weren’t taking a supplement.
If you feel cold and tired frequently, you might not receive complete nutrition all of the time. These are indications of anemia — a condition that occurs when you aren’t taking in an adequate amount of iron. If you feel tired frequently, you might not have the energy to exercise as often as you should, nor will you put forth as much energy into your workout as you could if you weren’t tired.
This mineral also plays a role in your body creating energy from the nutrients you take in. Because iron carries oxygen to your muscles and other cells, the mineral is necessary for them to burn energy.
Using a Food Calorie Calculator
You can use a food calorie calculator to estimate the number of calories you need to consume each day in order to maintain your current weight or lose weight. Typically, a calorie calculator takes into consideration your age, gender, and height. The calculator also factors in your current weight and activity level.
The calculator uses a predetermined equation and inputs your information to generate the ideal number of calories you should consume each day, and you can use this information to make nutritious meals that help you get all the nutrients you need while still losing weight.
Planning Nutritious Meals Low in Calories
Using the total from your food calorie calculator, you create meals and snacks that fall within your recommended caloric intake. To get all the nutrients you need while still losing weight, you should look at the nutrition label of everything you consume.
Reading the Nutrition Label
It’s important you understand what you’re reading when you look at the label of the foods you consume. At the top of the label, you’ll notice a line that says, “calories” and “calories from fat.” You want to choose food selections that don’t have a high amount of calories from fat.
You’ll also notice when you’re reading information on the label that it informs you about how much of your daily recommended nutrient value the product has. For instance, an item may state it has 25 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin B-12.
On the label is a line that measures the amount of carbohydrates from sugar. You want to keep this amount low as well since sugars can contribute negatively to weight loss. Foods that have a high amount of fiber from carbohydrates, however, are beneficial to weight loss.
Foods to Choose
Ultimately, when you read nutrition labels, you want to choose foods high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Some examples of high-nutrient, low-calorie foods to incorporate into a nutritious diet for weight loss, include:
- Bran cereal with bananas
- Whole-wheat crackers
- Apples and peanut butter
Foods to Avoid
The type of foods you want to avoid are those that are high in calories and low in nutrients, such as:
- White bread
Ensure You’re Properly Nourished While Calorie Cutting
Losing weight is stressful when you start comparing diet options. Not to mention, if you choose to cut your caloric intake, you also still have to receive all of the proper nutrition, or you could risk a vitamin deficiency and possibly not lose as much weight as you could. Follow the tips above to make sure you get all the nutrition your body needs while counting calories.