”Healthy Foods” That Can Pack on the Pounds
You started exercising and made changes to your diet to lose some weight. So now, you’re looking and feeling toned, but you haven’t actually lost any weight – the scale won’t budge. It’s frustrating, but it may be your healthy new diet that is actually keeping the weight on.
Salads can be a sneaky culprit. Although they are 100% healthier than eating a cheeseburger, we lull ourselves into a sense of entitlement that we can eat more because we think our salad has fewer calories. For instance, packing the dressing on a salad containing avocado and chicken breast can bring the total calories count up to 700. Adding a slice of bread or a roll boosts it another 100 calories.
Salad dressings average about 150 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. If you’re not measuring you could be eating almost 300 calories in dressing alone. A cup of healthy avocado slices can pack in another 150 calories. Add in the chicken breast at 150 calories and you’re at 600 calories before the greens, tomatoes, crumbled cheese and other garnishments. These are important tips to know when ordering a salad. Request that the dressing be placed on the side and make a decision between adding avocado or a protein. If you do order this combo, remove some of the avocado and the chicken save it for a homemade salad or snack for later! When making your own salad you’re able to reduce these ingredients to a combination that makes the salad both delicious and calorie-conscious.
Another “heavy healthy” is peanut butter, which can pack 100 calories per tablespoon. If you’re a peanut butter lover, the type that can eat a spoonful out of the jar, you can see how easily those calories will add up. I judiciously measure out one tablespoon with my sliced apples to insure my healthy, delicious snack weighs in at only 200 calories.
Those healthy juices and smoothies are real calorie killers. An 8-ounce glass of orange juice is 110 calories – more than a comparable glass of soda, albeit much healthier. If you’re quenching your thirst, drink no-calorie water first (try fruit-infused water for a flavorful option), then hit the orange juice as part of a balanced breakfast or snack. Smoothies are wonderful inventions, filled with whatever healthy fruit or vegetables your heart desires, but unless it’s your meal, think no more than 8 ounces for a snack because they can rack up the calories.
Let’s discuss cereal. Forget the sugary kid versions, which have lots of calories with very little nutritional value. Let’s talk about the healthy cereals like granola and the multigrain and fiber versions. A half cup of Quaker Oats granola with almonds will set you back about 270 calories before milk, which after adding that in, brings breakfast to over 300 calories. Compare this with eating one fried egg and 2 slices of bacon, which totals only 152 calories. My money says that the egg and bacon will be more filling and satisfying.
Continuing the grain discussion, quinoa is an incredibly healthy rice substitute that is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart and controlling diabetes. However, it carries about the same calories as rice, so be conscious of recommended portions.
Dr. Oz is a huge fan of walnuts as a healthy food choice, which makes me happy because I’m a huge fan as well. Unfortunately nuts are as caloric as they are healthy and because they’re so small, it’s very easy to eat a ton of calories, figuratively speaking. A little ½ cup of walnuts is 325 calories, though at least it’s less than macadamia nuts that clock in at 470 calories. You can nibble this amount in a blink of eye so be very careful not to mindlessly snack on nuts. Mix a portion into an afternoon work snack with sliced apples. This meal’s high nutrient content should keep hunger pangs away until dinnertime.
Lastly, let’s discuss the low fat food options seen in the supermarket. Many foods with low fat labels have high levels of sugar and/or salt to maintain taste. So although these foods may have lower fat content and calories, they include unhealthy ingredients that may get metabolized into fat more quickly. Most times it’s just better to eat smaller portions of the regular version rather than be confused with what the low-fat version is or is not providing as a substitute. The table below shows that overall there is little advantage to eating a low fat version of the real thing.
Eating healthy is the biggest part of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. Anyone who makes the decision to eat fresh and healthy vegetables, fruits and grains is to be applauded. At the end of the day, however, portion control is common sense in any healthy eating plan.