When faced with a choice between a tempting, tasty treat like French fries or a low-calorie snack like an apple, it easy to let the taste buds take over. Counting calories or reading them off of the menu at a restaurant may not always change everyone’s choices, especially when we are really hungry. But a new way of thinking about calories in vs. energy out might help to change our decisions.
The calories in the foods we eat are meant to give us energy to get through the day’s activities, no more, no less. So next time you feel tempted by a treat, try asking yourself, how energized do I feel after eating French fries (or swap your favorite treat here)? If you feel like you could easily walk for three hours, you are on track for the amount of physical activity it takes the average adult to burn off the calories in just one serving of fries. Are you surprised that you could walk the whole 4.7 mile length of the Southwest Corridor Park and still not burn off those 610 calories? French fries might be starting to sound like less of a treat right about now.
Go ahead and try thinking about food options in terms of the amount of walking, running, biking, swimming, or other favorite activities it takes to burn off their calories You might find that this can be helpful way to tip the balance of your decision making over to the healthy option most of the time. This goes for drinks, too! Rethink your drink by reviewing this image of how long it takes to burn off the calories in different size sodas.