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I'm trying to figure out how many calories I burn in a day, but I have no idea. Can you help me? Thanks!

Calorie Confused

Dear Calorie Confused,

Yes, as a matter of fact I CAN help you. I'm going to point you in the direction of something called a "BMR Calculator". This handy dandy tool will tell you how many calories your body would burn if you stayed in bed all day and did absolutely nothing (sounds like a fun day to me). There's a formula that takes into account your height, weight, age and gender -- and based on those things, it tells you how many calories your body burns per day. This is your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Remember, if you do more activity than just lying around all day (which you probably do!), your body requires additional calories to fuel those activities. So, just the calories from your BMR wouldn't be enough to sustain you on a daily basis. In other words, don’t use your BMR as the total number of calories you need to eat in a day. Use that info as a baseline from which to add calories for all the activities you do (even just walking around throughout the day counts). If you want to know more about this topic, consult a doctor or nutrition professional. FYI -- they say depriving your body of food can actually slow down your BMR (a very BAD thing!), and doing lots of cardio can actually increase it (which rocks!). Here's a link to the calculator. Definitely forward this email to everyone you know, because there's probably not a person on the planet who isn't interested in finding out this magic number.

Dear HG,

I'm very busy and so I eat a lot of "diet" frozen meals for lunch and dinner. The problem is, they're not large enough to satisfy me. So I sometimes end up eating two of them in one sitting, and I feel that defeats the purpose of eating them in the first place. Any advice for me?

Too Much Chewing
Dear Too Much Chewing,

I hear ya! I'm a volume eater, so I find that most frozen meals simply don't contain enough food to satisfy me on their own. But that doesn't stop me from eating them! The key is to combine those frozen meals with other foods or pair them with stuff to make the meal more satisfying. Here are some of my favorite ways to bulk up somewhat "wimpy" frozen entrées and snacks...

1. Start with a cup of soup. Broth-based soups are a great way to add substance to meals. My favorite soups are Progresso Light, Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque and instant soup packets by Mishima (the packets are easy to keep at your desk, too!).

2. Add frozen veggies. Even a whole bag of these won't add too many calories to your meal. And if your entrée is saucy, there's usually enough sauce to cover the veggies, too! So throw 'em in there...

3. Toss Tofu Shirataki in. Mix a bag of rinsed and drained Tofu Shirataki (make sure to dry 'em thoroughly, and you may want to slice 'em up a bit) into your meal. Again, most sauces will cover the extra item -- and a whole bag of these low-calorie noodles will only add 40 calories to your lunch or dinner!

4. Pair with a huge chopped salad. Chop up lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, peppers, etc., and make a humungous salad to enjoy with your nuked meal. Better yet, mix up a giant batch every couple of days when you have the time, and then keep it in the fridge for convenience. Filling and fantastic!


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