When you’re interested in losing weight, choosing the right foods is extremely important. Of course, diet is much more than just making food choices based on calories, it also means understanding the need for good nutrition and how calories can impact your weight loss success. For example, eating 2,000 calories per day might lead to weight loss, but if those calories all come from ice cream, cakes, and chips, your body is likely to store excess fat.

Good nutrition requires the right balance of proteins, vitamins and minerals. While the dietary needs of each individual can vary tremendously, the necessity for a nutritious eating plan that includes both macro and micro nutrients is important to both weight loss and good health.

When you’re trying to shed those excess pounds, focusing on nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables can help ensure you get the nutrients you need without going overboard on calories. Let’s face it, you’d have to eat a lot of carrots and broccoli to get the same number of calories as you would by eating your favorite ice cream sundae. Additionally, because fruits and vegetables will also be providing some much-needed nutrition, you aren’t consuming empty calories. Foods high in sugar, salt and processed ingredients are often filled with empty calories; meaning, they lack sufficient nutritional value.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that low-fat dairy can be an important part of a weight loss eating plan. Many people think they need to skip dairy, especially cheese, but moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products can provide essential nutrients for good health. Likewise, there is no need to shun all fats. Your body needs some fats; simply substitute saturated fats for healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocadoes, in moderation.

In addition to low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains and proper hydration are key elements in helping you to lose weight. Whole grains play an important role in weight loss because they are able to help regulate blood sugar. Without the spikes in blood sugar, you’ll be able to eliminate the crash that comes when your blood sugar drops. Additionally, because whole grains take longer to digest, they simply stay with you longer. You’ll feel fuller for a longer period of time, helping you to make it to lunch without being tempting to indulge in a high calorie snack, mid-morning.

A well-balanced eating plan coupled with regular exercise is an excellent way to look and feel your best. Of course, it is also a great way to help you shed unwanted pounds, but best of all, you’ll be able to put an end to yo-yo dieting and finally keep the weight off!