How many unknown calories are sneaking in that you didn't realize you were eating? Eating healthy isn't about counting calories, it is about having all the information to make smarter decisions. If you were eating fresh fruit and suddenly found out that somehow, someone found a way to inject six tablespoons of sugar inside each piece without anyone knowing it, you'd avoid eating fruit. Finding the hidden calories helps you avoid foods you thought were healthier and lower in calories. It also helps stop mindless munching on fattening foods.
Just because it's healthy and lower in calories doesn't mean you can glut on it.
There are loads of healthy foods that when consumed as a normal part of your diet, blend right in and don't pack on the pounds. For example, avocados and nuts are both healthy. An avocado is 114 calories for just one half of one, while nuts are between 150 and 250 calories for a meager one-fourth of a cup. If you ate a half an avocado each meal and one half at each snack time it would add almost 600 calories to your diet. Once a day is more than enough of this higher calorie food, unless it's one you love and account for the extra calories elsewhere...then maybe twice a day. Nuts are easy to binge on, they're crunchy and delicious. One-fourth a cup never seems like enough and over the course of a day, if you ate just four servings you could be consuming 1000 calories, almost half the amount you need daily.
Changing that low calorie salad to a mountain of calories.
Whether you're eating at home or partaking of the salad bar, loading your salad with all the goodies may be a hidden area where you're munching down more than you intended. Add all the fresh veggies you want to your gorgeous lettuce or spinach salad, but watch out for those toppers. A handful of pumpkin seeds, some glazed walnuts, croutons or tortilla chips, dried cranberries or other dried fruit and a lot of grated cheese doesn't seem like much, but then you also drown it in creamy ranch dressing instead of a vinaigrette, you've got so many hidden calories you won't have to eat the rest of the day.
Raisins or other dried fruit can pack on the calories.
Fruits good for you, right? So why is dried fruit not so good for weight loss? Consider this, how full are you after eating 15 raisins? Now, compare that to how full you are eating 15 grapes. The grapes are more filling because they're bigger and contain water to help fill that empty void in your stomach. Dried fruit is healthy, but it tricks you into thinking you aren't eating as much. That means you'll probably eat far more and take in far more calories.
- Don't fall for the protein bar hype. They're just candy dressed up in a healthy package and often contain more calories than a candy bar.
- Granola and trail mix make a quick easy snack with lots of health benefits. However, it's easy to overdo with this munchy treat and ignore the meaning of a single portion.
- Watch what you put in your smoothie. These delicious drinks are easy ways to get several portions of your fruit and vegetables, but you can add too many extras that put the calorie count over the top. Commercially made smoothies are even more loaded with calories.
- Non or low fat frozen yogurt can be a fat magnet in your body. The fat gives yogurt a great flavor and removing it means you have to replace that flavor with something else. Most of the time it's sugar and makes you pack on the pounds.