| 5 minutes

Calorie quality over quantity?

Written by Kevin, Nutritionist (M.Sc. Medical Science)

A healthy diet is not simply about how many calories you consume, rather, the need to be mindful of the quality of these calories and where they come from.

We all know that calorie control is an important factor in weight management however, the nutritional quality and source of the calories needs to be considered for overall health. Ensuring the body obtains key nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fats and fibre, while limiting the intake of sugar, salt and saturated fat, are of paramount importance to long-term well-being.

The British Nutrition Foundation introduced the Quality Calorie (QC) concept, created to remind consumers that diet-quality is just as important as the number of calories we ingest. For instance, 'low-calorie' options often provide poor nutritional value compared to foods with slightly more calories e.g. nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocado etc.

The QC concept focuses on being mindful when it comes to food choices and incorporating other components of a healthy diet such as wholegrain carbohydrates, healthier fats, protein (beans and pulses, lean meats and skinless chicken and turkey, seafood, eggs), plenty of fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy foods e.g. plain yogurts, milk and cheese.

Almased is consumed in conjunction with regular meals; throughout the programme we highlight the importance of ensuring these meals are both balanced and nutritious. They should be high in lean proteins, wholegrain carbohydrates, healthy fats and vegetable-rich. When preparing meals, remind yourself of the QC concept and take note of the helpful advice below:

Top tips for ensuring the intake of Quality Calories:

  • Swap white refined carbohydrates for wholegrains
  • Choose healthier cooking options (grilled, steamed, baked, poached)
  • Always choose vegetables or salads as a side option
  • Think tomato or vegetable based sauces rather than creamy ones
  • Swap processed meats for lean meats, chicken and turkey, fish or shellfish
  • Choose high-fibre plant based proteins: beans, pulses and lentils
  • Sprinkle 1 handful of seeds or nuts over meals
  • Use olive oil or avocado oil instead of prepared salad dressings.
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