Some of the most popular go-to healthy foods can often be very high in calories, which can make reaching your goals more challenging. This doesn’t mean you should avoid them but if you’re aiming to stay within a certain daily calorie allowance, you’ll probably want to familiarize yourself with how these foods measure up in terms of calories as well as the other macronutrients.
Here are some common healthy go-to foods that may sabotage your weight loss efforts so be mindful of the labels and your portion size:
Everyone loves a good protein shake or smoothie, especially at this time of year. But you must be mindful of what you are putting in it as most are between 250-600 calories per a 16-oz serving. Also, check the labels of your protein powder to make sure you are using one with minimal sugar. My favorite low-carb and low-calorie protein shake consists of 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter powder, 1/2 of a small container of Greek yogurt and a splash of almond milk. It is filling but macro-friendly.
Guacamole is packed with heart-healthy and potassium-rich avocados, and it’s also packed with calories. One cup (which sounds like a lot but have you ever sat at a table with guac and chips?!) contains about 360 calories. If you want to indulge, you can swap your chips for veggies to cut out some calories and carbs.
Chia seeds are a great healthy choice thanks to their fiber, omega-3, and protein content but they are also very caloric. A single tablespoon contains 70 calories, meaning you can easily add an extra 200 calories to that smoothie without even realizing it. Use chia seeds sparingly in order to still get the health benefits minus the unwanted calories.
Just 2 tablespoons of olive oil add 238 calories to your meal or salad. And yes, those calories count even if you are just using it to cook. While olive oil is full of healthy fat, use it sparingly to keep the calories in check. Consider using avocado oil which has fewer calories and can withstand high heat.
Dried fruit is high in sugar and carbohydrates and it’s not the easiest snack to keep to one portion at a time. It also doesn’t have the water associated with regular fruit, so it is not as filling and satiating. You are best served to single-portion this snack out ahead of time to keep the calories in check.
Nuts and Nut Butter
Nut butter is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. It contains healthy fat and is very versatile and can be added to a variety of snacks or dishes, such as smoothies, yogurts and much more. But 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contain almost 200 calories, so be careful with your serving size or consider one of the many new peanut butter powders which are less caloric and contain less fat, too.
Nuts are also a great healthy snack, just one small handful of almonds contains over 7 grams of protein and 18 grams of healthy fats. Since they’re very calorie-dense, just two handfuls per day with a meal or as a snack can quickly add hundreds of calories. Make sure to be mindful of portion size with this snack.
If you are one of many people living with diabetes who also have celiac disease, you are probably accustomed to eating gluten-free foods. While they are amazing substitutes for wheat, they are not necessarily healthier. Many contain less protein than their wheat counterparts. Also, while the calorie count usually remains the same, you may eat more of the gluten-free one because it appears “healthier.”
Prepared Salad Kits
We all love the convenience of running into a store on your lunch break and grabbing a salad to go. But to think that is automatically a healthier choice because it is a salad is incorrect. Many are loaded with extra calories and fat from the cheese, bacon and pouches of dressing. You can still buy these prepared kits but don’t overload on all the toppings. Or better yet, create your own salad and keep the calories in check.
One cup of homemade granola can serve up a full meal’s worth of calories. At 597 calories and a whopping 29.4 grams of fat per cup (exact totals may differ based on ingredients), this is one of the foods you should skip if you want to lose weight. Consider making your own, there are great recipes out there to try.
The fish and vegetable components of sushi are healthy, but once you add in the creamy sauces, fried dough and rice, it can become a real dent in your diet. One roll can easily contain 500 calories! Consider having a few pieces of a sushi roll along with a salad, miso soup and edamame. Or, choose rolls that don’t contain mayonnaise or fried ingredients.
Watching calories can be tricky but if you are mindful of your choices, you can definitely succeed! Do you have any low-calorie staples that help you not go overboard? Comment and share below!