I’m about to let you in on a little secret. This is something I see almost on a daily basis with my clients and something I was definitely misinformed about when first starting my health and fitness journey. Are you ready for this life-changing bit of advice?
Just because it’s considered healthy does not mean you can eat unlimited amounts of it. Sounds simple, right? It sure is, but a lot of us are victims here. No matter what food we are talking about, there are ideal servings sizes. Everything in moderation is just fine, and this rule is no different when talking about “healthy” foods. As it’s true you can eat a heck of a lot more zoodles than actual noodles for the same amount of calories, this does not give you the okay to OD on zoodles.
You all seemed to love my blog post Fake “Health” Foods, so in a similar sense, I want to show you the foods that are marketed as healthy, but are packed with calories and often over consumed. (Disclaimer: I eat all the foods mentioned below. I’m not stating they’re bad for you, I’m simply stating we need to be aware of the amount we consume.)
1. Almonds and Other Nuts. We see advertisements all the time for how great of a snack almonds are. They’re convenient and on-the-go friendly, contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which result in reduction of hunger cues and ultimately can promote weight loss. Sounds amazing, right? Sure, but because of their high fat content, they are very calorically dense. Each almond contains 7 calories. One serving is typically considered 23 almonds which equates to 161 calories. Do not overdo it on the nuts, friends. Nuts do have health benefits, but you must take into account the serving size because the calories add up real quick. This goes for things like nut butters and trail mixes too.
2. Nut Butters. This triggers me. It is so easy to down 4 servings of peanut butter without blinking. One serving of any nut butter is generally 2 tablespoons and contains nearly 200 calories.
3. Fruits. Fruit is a whole food because it’s sugar occurring in its natural state. Sugars are all carbohydrates, so consuming them spikes blood sugar levels. I don’t recommend to eat more than 2 servings of fruit each day. I know so many people who think that eating a banana and an apple for breakfast is the gold standard for losing weight, but consider this:
1 medium banana = 105 calories (27g carbs)
1 medium apple = 95 calories (25g carbs)
Again, I’m not advocating that fruit is bad for you, but my point is, it should be limited just like everything else because fruit is pure simple sugar.
4. Granola. Guys, this one is my weakness. Granola is advertised as a fiber-packed, whole grain, cholesterol-reducing snack. The issue is that it’s very calorically dense. Did you know the typical serving size for granola is usually around ¼ cup? Who else is guilty of dumping at least a half cup on top of their yogurt? The truth is, in that ¼ cup there is 150+ calories, so we need to be especially careful with serving size.
5. Salad. Oh the misconception regarding salad. You do not need to only eat salad for dinner every night in order to lose weight. Salad is not the healthiest meal; it can be extremely bad for you, depending on what you put on it. A salad made of spinach, fresh vegetables, and a fat-free dressing could have as few as 25 calories, while a salad with made of spinach, fresh vegetables, bacon bits, cheese, and french dressing could have upwards of 1,000 calories if you’re not careful. I am a huge fan of salad; I love the infinite possibilities of things you can make with it, but I still measure out my ingredients.
I encourage you to check out what is considered one serving of the “health” foods you consume often. Are you overdoing it and didn’t even realize it? Consumption of any macronutrient is going to inevitably lead to weight gain. If you continually eat 500 calories a day above your calorie expenditure, whether it be from pizza or salad, you will gain weight.