When you’re attempting to lose weight, maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves consuming nutrient-rich foods that give your body the energy it requires for the day. However, you should also be looking into what you exactly put in your body – all those healthy foods you consume may contain hidden calories that contribute to your weight gain.
According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, a study done in 2012 concluded that calories alone account for increased fat in one’s body. As such, excessive consumption of calories remains to be a big contributing factor for obesity. Regardless of how supposedly “healthy” some foods are, you should avoid consuming it in unlimited quantities. Even with the best slimming treatment, losing weight may continue to be an uphill battle if you don’t start looking carefully at what you eat.
Let’s explore on some of the healthy snacks that have with hidden weight-gaining calories.
1. Salad dressings
It is a common misconception for people to have when they think about eating salad – that it does not contain a lot of calories. But the problem starts with the dressing they put on their choice of salad. Nuts, cheese, and a half-cup of croutons have more than 100 calories, while salad dressing can have up to 300 calories per serving. The ingredient list often contains preservatives, sodium, oil, added sugar and sodium that leaves it high in calories. Opt to make your own salad dressing instead with minimal oil and sugar, or choose extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar instead.
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It is a popular breakfast cereal to give you the energy to start your energy. But you should know they most have too much sugar and little fiber, when a healthy breakfast meal should be the opposite. Considering the high sugar content, a cup of granola can easily contain 500 calories. Instead, pick out a cereal that has a similar satisfying crunch but offers more grams of fiber than sugar. Add your favourite berry for some sweetness. Otherwise, you can always limit your granola consumption to less than a quarter of a cup, to manage your calorie intake.
3. Fruit juices and smoothies
Fruit juice may be a surprising factor in this list, but it should still be consumed in moderation. It adds calories without providing the fiber benefits that come with the fruit itself. During the juicing process, some edible fibers in the skin and pulp are removed. Even without added sugar, fruit juice can be comparable to a can of soda in terms of sugar content.
And for smoothies, it can be made with frozen yogurt, milk or ice cream to boost the flavours – which packs on more calories. With its high calorie, it may still not satisfy you like a meal, so you’ll be adding on more calories later when the hunger strikes. It is best to eat the whole fruit instead, or try to make your smoothie at home where you are more in control of the content.
4. Trail mix
Trail mix is a healthy snack option, but practise portion control. It can be loaded with salted peanuts and sugar-coated dried fruits that can make the fat, sugar and calories add up. Reading the nutrition label is crucial to learn what one serving looks like so you won’t be eating more than the recommended portion size. An alternative is to make your own trail mix such as raw almonds and walnuts for fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and dark chocolate and cranberries for antioxidants benefits.
5. Peanut butter
A household staple, peanut butter is actually calorie-dense. And its creamy, savoury flavour can make it hard to stop at just one tablespoon. But two tablespoons contain around 200 calories, which is more than a snack’s worth. Go light on the dipping, even if you are eating with celery sticks or apple slices. One thing to note is: go for the full-fat, natural peanut butter which is high in healthy polyunsaturated fats. As compared to reduced-fat peanut butter, this version often contains more sugar to replace the fat.
When you are trying to eat well and maintain your waistline, it can be frustrating when these hidden calorie culprits undo your good work. Exercise portion control when necessary, read the labels or skip for other healthier alternatives to avoid putting on the pounds.
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