Eat nutrient rich foods

Eating fewer calories doesn't have to mean having to sacrifice having less energy as long as you choose the foods that are the best nutritional bargains for your body. Here are some low-cal, high-energy foods to add to your diet so you lose weight, not energy!

Whey protein powder is one of the best-kept secrets of dieters and athletes. It's one of the highest rated proteins on the planet by far. Studies have shown that it helps with dieting for anyone and everyone, keeping individuals fuller longer. People who drink whey protein shakes tend to eat fewer calories during subsequent meals. Plus whey protein can boost immunity and lower blood pressure slightly. Calories average around about 100 calories per scoop.

Quick tip - Mix with water instead of milk to keep the calorie-count low.

Three to four ounces of beef is surprisingly low in calories. (For instance, a quarter pound has less than 200 calories.) More surprising though is that half the fat in beef is heart healthy monounsaturated fat, which is the same kind that is found in olive oil. Beef protein stabilizes blood sugar and gives you lasting energy, plus it's loaded with iron and amino acids. Grass-fed beef (healthier beef) is high in omega-3's and virtually free of antibiotics and hormones. Always remember though that fast food beef is excluded!!

Pumpkin isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore! Pumpkin is an energizing, low-calorie fruit that's packed with immune boosting vitamin A. It has more potassium than a banana, and, for good measure, it's loaded with fiber. That means your blood sugar won't soar, but your energy will be constant and sustained. Canned pumpkin is available at every grocery store out there. You can heat it and season it with nutmeg, cinnamon and a little butter, but be sure to leave out the sugar. It makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes and has only 49 calories per cup!

Pomegranate juice is the newest, latest and greatest star in nutrition. It has the highest antioxidant capacity of any juice on the planet, even beating out red wine and green tea in many tests. And because it's low in sugar, it won't set you up for overeating after you drink it, like many other high sugar drinks often do. There are typically just around 80 calories for every 4 ounces.

Quick Tip: Mix it with equal parts water if you want a full eight-ounce drink without adding extra calories!

Blueberries are a true super food. They're overloaded with fiber and antioxidants and many studies show they boost memory making them a true "brain food." Low in sugar but still sweet, they'll sustain your energy while adding nothing to your waistline. Toss them in smoothies, salads or eat them alone. Frozen blueberries are a great low-calorie treat that mix well with a little nonfat milk or yogurt. You'll never even know you're cutting calories.

For those of you who hate broccoli, try broccoli rabe, I can almost promise that you’ll love it. It's has a completely different taste than regular old boring broccoli, and is actually pretty good raw. Best of all, it's satisfying, incredibly nutritious, and absurdly low in calories just less than 37 calories per cup! It makes a great substitute for a raw vegetable snack of carrots and celery, and because it's so low in calories, you can even treat yourself to a couple of tablespoons of dip and not break the calorie bank.

There's no better protein source on earth than the kind you get from salmon, and when devouring it you get the additional benefits of heart healthy, omega-3 fatty acids to boot! The protein stabilizes your blood sugar, the fat keeps you from being hungry, and those magical omegas will improve your mood too! You won't even notice you're cutting calories, promise! You can have a nice 3-4 ounce salmon steak for around 150 calories. Add a handful of brown rice and a heap of vegetables and you'll be good to go for hours!

The Incas called quinoa the "mother of all grains" and actually used it as a major source of fuel for their armies in time of need. Though it's technically a seed, it cooks, acts and tastes just like a grain, and has the highest protein content of any cereal on earth. It's also high in iron, and has 5 grams of fiber per cup. It'll fill you up for hours!

Quick Tip: Throw in some blueberries for a terrific breakfast!

Oatmeal is a food that actually helps you cut calories. Studies have shown that people who eat a high fiber breakfast food like oatmeal naturally eat less calories later in the day, are satisfied longer, and have more energy for things like mental performance. High in fiber and moderately high in protein, oatmeal fills you up and energizes all for a very fair caloric cost of 150 calories for a half cup of uncooked dry oats, which cooks up into a nice portion.

Quick tip: Avoid the packets of oatmeal, they're loaded with sugar and have less fiber, unlike the real deal, and you'll find yourself hungry less than an hour later.

Not everyone would think of grabbing this first thing out of their pantry, but sardines are truly health food in a can. They're high in protein, which boosts your metabolism and leaves you feeling satisfied for much longer than the equivalent amount of carbohydrates. They're loaded with energizing omega-3 fats, which also help keep you full while being good for your heart, brain and mood. Best of all, they're low in calories. And because they're low on the food chain, they're almost never polluted with chemicals like mercury. An entire can is less than 200 calories.

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