Which foods have the lowest energy density?
Vegetables and fruits tend to have the lowest calorie densities because they are high in water and fiber. Intact whole grains (i.e. brown rice) and lean, high-protein foods (i.e. beans) are also great choices. Examples of energy-dense foods to limit include processed foods (i.e. white flour), high-fat foods, and foods containing added sugars.
How can I use this information to make better food choices?
You can begin by simply choosing more foods that are low in energy density, and less foods that are high in energy density. Starting each meal with a broth-based soup or a lightly-dressed salad can help you to eat fewer calories, overall, at each meal. You might also consider reducing the portion of meat and doubling the vegetables the next time you make your favorite recipe. And finally, try a serving of fresh fruit in lieu of your usual dessert. Remember that, over time, small changes can truly make a big difference!