The government proposes empty calories can be consumed in moderation, with limits based on age and activity level. Based on this chart, my two teenage sons would be allowed 265 empty calories per day or approximately the equivalent of two cans of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) laden soda. While the focus is usually on the impact these empty calories have on weight, we cannot dismiss what they are doing to our health, even in modest amounts. In fact, daily consumption of HFCS has been found to increase blood levels of small dense LDL within two weeks.
Most health and nutrition advocates agree a diet consisting of nutrient dense foods is optimal. In fact, we could argue, simply by eliminating empty calories one's health would improve dramatically. Here's the crux though, when it comes to changing nutritional habits, denial does not work well for most people. As soon as we tell ourselves we can't have something, we want it more than ever. Message boards devoted to healthy eating are littered with posts, recounting tales of binging on “forbidden” foods, even more so after a holiday or special celebration.
If simply eliminating foods doesn't work, then what does? In addition to learning about nutrition choices and their impact on one's health, many are able to make sustainable nutritional changes by substituting unhealthy foods with healthy counterparts. While some may take issue with the term “healthy” treats, I have found they are an important part of a healthy eating lifestyle.
This Easter, I did not do any cooking, instead we opted to go to a restaurant that serves local and organic fare. It was a buffet, with made-to-order omelets and a grass fed prime rib carving station, as well as your typical brunch buffet, french toast, pastries, hash brown potatoes, bacon, ham, pasta, salad, fruits and desserts. As I surveyed the dessert table, there was one that caught my eye, a basic chocolate truffle. I wasn't tempted in the least to indulge, no, instead I decided I was going to devise my own healthy truffle.
STAY TUNED FOR
Where I'll share an easy recipe for a nutrient dense chocolate truffle that is loaded with antioxidants and an ORAC value of 90,000!