A lot of us try to eat healthily, unfortunately modern society doesn’t make things quite as easy as a lot of us would like. There’s processed food everywhere and to make matters worse, a lot of the foods that we think would be good for us are secretly high in calories. If you’re trying to lose weight it’s important to know what to look out for so you don’t get caught out.
Smoothies and Fruit Juices
Smoothies are almost always touted as being incredibly healthy, but, they often contain far more calories than you’d think. Whist berries, Greek yoghurt and some chia seeds may seem harmless, it can quite often pack more than 500 calories in one serving. Meaning you’re down 1 full meal in exchange for a smoothy when you’re looking at daily calorie intake. And it can get even worse if you add in sugar or syrups. The same applies to fruit juices, most of the sugar is in the juice, so make sure to check the label and watch out for orange juice as it’s surprisingly high. Apple juice is usually the best bet if you’re looking for a low calorie smoothie base.
Everyone things avocado is healthy, and it does have a lot of “healthy fats” and yes, omegas can be hard for vegans to come by, but Avocado is actually very calorific with one avocado being up to 300 calories! Whilst they are nutritious you need to keep portion size in mind and not rely on them as your only or go to source of healthy fats.
Once again we’ve got another trickster on our hands, yes they can have a lot of micronutrients, but the fact is that dried fruit is ultimately more densely packed. The water in the fruit didn’t have any calories and that’s the bit that’s gone. Its even worse if they’ve been sugared, so make sure to check the label and eat them sparingly. In many cases you’d actually be better off with some dark chocolate if you need something to curb your sweet tooth.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
This one can catch a lot of people out. Balsamic vinegar itself is very low in calories, but balsamic vinegar dressings on the other hand can get up to 60 calories per spoon as many contain olive oil. And oils are around 120 calories per spoon. Some are also sweetened, so be careful with the amount you use. Lemon juice is a good alternative if you don’t want plain balsamic.
Gluten Free Ice Cream
Gluten free doesn’t mean healthier, you can actually make relatively low calorie ice cream yourself if you use whey protein powder and low fat Greek yoghurt (there’s plenty of recipes online and they’re not bad). But gluten free doesn’t mean low calories, if anything it’s quite commonly the opposite, gluten itself is the protein in wheat, so many products marketed as healthy this way are simply not.
Most pre packaged granola bars are packed full of sugar, even in general they’re not as low calorie as they may seem. Oats themselves aren’t low calorie, just low glycaemic index for carbohydrates, which is an entirely different thing. If you’re buying pre packaged make sure to check the label and if you make them yourself opt for sweeteners over sugar, and be sure to weigh your ingredients so you can properly control portions.
Nuts are in general very high calorie, there’s a reason peanut butter is given to starving people, yes they have nutrients, and again we have the vegan omega source (although you’d need to eat more than 3000 calories of walnuts a day to get enough, but that’s a different and longer conversation involving the different types of Omega 3’s and bioavailability), but they are not low calorie. You can drop the calories a little with raw nuts, but honestly nut’s just simply aren’t low calorie and almost nobody can stick to the tiny portion that they really need to keep them in a diet designed for weight loss.
Lower than the highest calorie option does not mean low calorie. This is where Frozen Yogurt catches people out, yes, it’s better than gelato, but so is pretty much anything when it comes to calories. A broken arm is better than a broken neck, but most people would prefer to have neither. The low fat versions tend to be higher in sugar instead, and adding toppings make it worse. Once again, the best way to scratch this frozen itch is with a home made alternative like the one we mentioned in the gluten free section.
Whilst not all cereals are particularly bad, almost none are low calorie, if they’re marketed as such they’re likely to be simply comparing themselves to other higher calorie products. There has been a recent innovation of protein cereals made from whey, these are generally alright when it comes to calories, but if you actually weigh out how much cereal is in a portion you’ll be shocked at just how small an amount your supposed to eat for the amount of calories you actually get.