Eating does not have to result in weight gain. The body needs food for fuel, and just like any fuel type, some foods are a "cleaner" energy source than others. Whether you are on a diet or just want to develop healthy eating habits, choose foods that minimize excess fat storage. A truly balanced diet allows you to eat a variety of food combinations without worrying about excessive weight gain.
Energy density is a key component of any fat-burning diet. Foods that contain high amounts of calories have a high energy density. Foods with low calorie levels are considered low energy density foods. For optimal weight control, choose low energy density foods, which allow you to eat more and feel full while controlling your calorie levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by eliminating the need to over-eat, these foods actually help dieters burn excess fat storage. Eating several small servings of low-energy density foods also boosts the metabolism, which helps keep weight gain in check.
Low-Energy Density Foods
Low-energy density foods tend to have a high water content, which makes them low in calories. Grapefruit, for example, is about 90 percent water and contains only 78 calories. The high water content also helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Low-energy density foods also tend to contain high amounts of fiber -- which takes the body longer to digest and keeps the metabolism going -- as well as low in fat. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and legumes.
Food combination is another key to a successful fat-burning diet. By combining several low-energy density foods, you can enjoy a variety of flavors and textures without gaining excessive weight. For lunch, combine a small serving of lean protein with whole grain bread and a piece of fruit. Eat your lunch with a glass of milk, which boosts the metabolism and helps control insulin levels. Instead of eating one giant portion of lasagna for dinner, start with a light salad with plenty of leafy greens and other vegetables. Follow the salad with a whole grain roll and a bowl of minestrone soup, then proceed to your main course. Adding vegetables to main dishes and decreasing the amount of fatty, high energy density ingredients is another way to combine foods and control weight gain.
Combine healthy, low-energy density food combinations with regular aerobic exercise for maximum weight loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise. Aerobic activities include walking, running, jogging, swimming and biking.