Low Calorie, High Energy Foods
The way you feel is a direct result of what you put into your body. High energy comes from eating “whole foods” that offer good vitality and can be easily assimilated by the body. The more a food is processed, the harder your body has to work to break it down. When all this energy goes into digestion, there is very little left for you!
Ironically, the foods that most people gravitate to are low calorie and often it is these “well marketed low calorie foods” that leave you starving, causing you to eat more and at the same time rid your body of vitality. Before going into my top choices for high-energy foods, I would like to discuss calories.
Not all calories are created equal – this is what most dietitians learn first in school. However, we now know that this is a dated expression and the very reason why low calorie diets do NOT work.
If you are counting calories for weight loss and giving no thought to the SOURCE of these calories, you will inevitably fail because your body will not have the energy to stay on this diet. Here is a simple example: If you eat 3 apples that are approximately 80 calories each, you will benefit from a wonderful source of fiber and simple sugars that your body does NOT have to break down, resulting in instant energy. Compare this to a small piece of apple pie with the same amount of calories. It’s now become a complex sugar that your body needs to break down in order to be absorbed. This takes time and energy. The calories are not used as efficiently as those from the “raw apples.” They are stored causing weight gain. Make sense? My point is that even if we choose to eat high-energy foods that are higher in calories, we will stay fueled longer and ultimately eat less. Now let’s take a look at some of these super foods.
What to Eat for More Energy
At the top of my list for high and instant energy with almost zero calories are your dark green leafy vegetables. This is one of the reasons you are hearing so much about kale these days. All dark greens are an excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, and numerous multi vitamins. They are easily digested (especially when juicing) and give you a kick similar to caffeine without the acidity. I try to juice an entire kale and numerous other greens every other day as we could never eat this amount in one sitting. Juicing is an easy way to fuel up without the calories.
Avocados are next in line! Sadly, they have a reputation for being high in fat. Yes, they are an excellent source of raw fat, but they also have B-vitamins, folic acid, and twice the amount of potassium as bananas. I ask my clients to eat at least three avocados a week for a good source of long lasting fuel. Staying away from processed foods and grains will give you the caloric room to even have one every day.
Free range egg yolks are a great source of high quality protein and fat. The problem is that most people tend to eat their eggs cooked. In order to benefit from the nine essential amino acids, lecithin and vitamin D in free range eggs, they need to be eaten as close to nature as possible – raw or lightly cooked (soft boiled or poached). If you are eating very little meat, you can easily manage an egg a day.
Wild salmon is my go-to for high quality protein and the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA. Adding this to your weekly meal plan agenda twice a week is optimal.
My favorite low calorie/high-energy meal is what a call my vitality salad. I eat it every day either for lunch or supper, sometimes both in smaller quantities. This salad has an abundance of vitamins and minerals coming from life! Here is the recipe:
Vitality Salad Recipe
A blend of dark greens (kale, spinach, arugula)
1 red and orange pepper
2 large grated carrots
Grated red and green cabbage
Grated ginger to taste
2 tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
A handful of sprouts (your choice)
A mix of chia, flax and hemp seeds
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (added bonus of B12)
Lightly cooked wild salmon or 1 avocado (I will vary the fish, or sometimes have no protein from flesh)
Salad dressing – Choice of olive or Udos oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar to taste