Just because a food is considered “healthy” doesn’t mean you can just eat as much of it as you want. Here is a short list of some common foods viewed as “healthy” that can really sabotage your weight loss goals.
Yes, it is full of healthy fats, vitamin E, and fiber, but if you eat a whole avocado, about 5 ounces edible weight, you just consumed about 230 Calories. That is almost as much as a regular sized Snickers Bar at 250 Calories. Of course, the avocado Calories are much healthier and would be a MUCH better choice, but we should watch our portion sizes on this sneaky food!
- Olive Oil
Packed with monounsaturated fats (MUFA’s) this oil is THE MOST Calorie dense food on the planet. At 130 Calories per Tablespoon it beats butter at 100 Calories per Tablespoon. But that’s not all, ALL of your vegetable oils are very similar in Calorie content. Canola, peanut, safflower, sunflower, olive, soybean, rapeseed, and corn oil all have very similar Calorie content. Does this mean you should be eating butter instead? Well, not necessarily. The oils still have healthier fatty acid profiles and include more unsaturated fats than saturated fats, just beware of the amounts you are consuming and cooking with. When you limit the amounts, oils can very easily be a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet plan.
At about 100 Calories per ounce (typically the amount in 1 slice of cheese), this dairy food may provide some good protein and calcium, but it can definitely put a snag in your weight loss progress. The problem here is that it is really easy to eat a lot of cheese, it tastes delicious! As with all of our foods on this list, it can be a part of a healthy diet when it is consumed in the appropriate portions.
Whole grain? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Low Calorie? NO! Even when you make it at home, it is very energy dense. Translation: very high calorie. This deemed “healthy” breakfast food comes in on the Calorie scale at 250-300 Calories per ½ cup, and that’s not a lot of cereal. Consider finding an alternative or make sure you limit your portion size. The terms “granola” and “healthy” are no longer synonymous.
Loaded with vitamin E, fiber and loads of mono and polyunsaturated (heart healthy) fats, these little delights add up fast. Each almond has about 7 Calories, which means about 1 oz (just under ¼ cup) will give you 165 Calories! How fast and how easy do those 165 Calories go down? Consider limiting these to 10, and pair them with some veggies for a better-rounded snack option.
- Dried Fruits
What happens when you take all of the water out of a grape? You get a raisin that you can eat in a fraction of a second! Part of the benefit of fruits is that they contain a high percentage of water, therefore, increasing the time it takes you to eat it and the volume you are eating. When you take away that water, you lose the fullness factor. ¼ cup of raisins will provide you with 120 Calories, where ¼ cup grapes will give you 25. Opt for the fresh fruit instead.
- Pomegranate Juice
At 150 Calories per cup this juice is far from “weight loss friendly”. Other juices are almost as high with orange at 110 per cup and apple at 120 per cup, but pomegranate wins the prize. Maybe we shouldn’t mention that most of its 150 Calories per cup come from the 32 grams of sugar, that is the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of sugar in every cup! I don’t know about you, but I would rather get my antioxidants from eating a few extra servings of fruits and/or veggies!
When you decide you want to partake in some of these “healthy” delights listed above, please use caution in your serving size! Many of these foods can easily fit into a very achievable weight loss/maintenance plan, but they do need to be limited. Just because they are healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want—in this case, there can be TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING!
Live, Learn, and Keep Losing!
Jennifer Bryant, MS, RD, LD, CDE