Written by Christy Bacon, CSCS
Choosing nutrient-dense foods is ALWAYS a better choice than choosing food that only gives you calories and not much else. It’s important to understand that making the choice of eating healthier foods may mean that you made the choice of eating more calories, and this may affect your progress of reaching your weight goals depending on what they are. This is fantastic if you are trying to put on some weight or build muscle, but if you are trying to lose weight, choosing the yogurt with granola instead of a sandwich for breakfast may not be the best way to go. We would of course have to consider the amount of food eaten, but it’s important to understand that many healthy foods have more calories than unhealthy food. Calories can really get out of hand with the snacks you eat throughout the day. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular snacks that can make your calorie count race away:
1. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a staple in many homes. Tragically, despite its deliciousness, the creamy treat is chock-full of calories. Two tablespoons equal nearly 200 calories.
What’n not healthy about sushi? Rice, fish, seawead..how could you go wrong? Some sushi comes covered in fried dough and calorie-laden sauces. The calories can easily add up. Sushi rice is also prepared with a considerable amount of sugar too. Despite the fish and vegetable components of sushi being healthy, there is very little of it and a sushi roll is mainly made up of sugary rice.
3. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit such as mango is high in sugar and carbohydrates and it’s easy to overdo the calories and portions. Dried fruit doesn’t have the water associated with regular fruit, so it is not as filling and satiating. I recommend eating real whole fruit, and sticking to one serving size.
Granola is good and bad. Store-bought granola may appear healthy, being full of seeds and nuts, but sadly it is often covered in oil and sugar to make it more appealing. Granola does have nutritious properties, unlike rice cakes, but you don’t need to eat much of it to consume 400+ calories. Instead of store bought, make your own.
All nuts, including almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, are over 90% fat. Fat has nine calories per gram, making nuts very calorie dense. One cup of whole almonds is over 800 calories, which is about half of the calories that many people need for the entire day.
6. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes tend to be a low-calorie snack, but they can leave you feeling hungry. Consequently, this crunchy treat can tempt you to eat more of it. This is why rice cakes can be bad news for your diet. Instead of being a healthy low-calorie snack, they just end up being additional calories, because you’ll want to eat something in addition to them regardless of how many of them you eat. Also, some rice cakes are packed with sugar, so you have to check the labels when you buy them.
7. Smoothies and Fruit Juices
Many smoothies and fruit juices contain almost as many calories as soda drinks and because people think they’re being healthy by drinking them, they may consume them in larger amounts. It is much better to eat your fruit whole and stay with just one serving.
Despite “low-sugar,” “fat-free,” and “whole-wheat” marketing tactics, cereal can be a culprit in weight gain. The serving sizes are smaller than you realize. The sugar content is typically doubled or tripled based on the servings you consume. Also, the quantity of milk used can add a significant amount of sugar. When consumed out of proportion to the recommended serving size, this snack becomes a sugar bomb.
9. Low Fat Foods
While the fat may be reduced or taken out, sugar and sodium are often added to maintain flavor! Be wary of low-fat foods when one of the first three ingredients listed is sugar. Regularly eating too much sugar could lead to high insulin levels in your blood. In the long-run this interferes with proper hormone signaling in the brain — including the signaling of our hunger hormones, which can increase our hunger cravings all day.