After a long and stressful day, sometimes it’s nice to sit down, throw on your sweats, get comfortable in front of the TV, and enjoy a deliciously rich and greasy cheat meal packed full of calories, salt, sugar, and other incredibly healthy ingredients which just taste so damn good. A little of what you love will do you good, but if you’re trying to watch your figure, stay in good shape, and keep/get yourself in peak physical condition, 90% of the time your diet should consist of healthy, nutritional produce. Eating clean and healthy foods is not as tough as you might think, providing you do a little research and know what you should, and should not avoid. If you’re trying to lose weight, or at least, maintain your weight, this is where things get a little confusing. You see, there are plenty of foods out there that are incredibly healthy and good for you, but they also happen to be rich in calories. As you probably know, consume more calories than your body requires for maintenance, and you will end up gaining weight. It doesn’t matter how healthy something is, it still contains calories, and therefore too much of it will result in you gaining weight. Here’s a look at five healthy foods that are rich in hidden calories.
Chocolate hazelnut spreads
Okay, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that any spread containing chocolate is going to be high in calories. The issue here is that many of these spreads, especially a very well-known brand which shall remain nameless, are marketed as being healthy and nutritious. They’re marketed as being rich in calcium, protein, minerals, and healthy fats, when in fact, this isn’t entirely true. If you go with an all-natural brand, you may very well find that it contains nothing more than cocoa powder and ground hazelnuts. The problem is that many other types of these spreads contain added palm oil, sugar, and milk, which bumps the calorie content up considerably. Even an all-natural spread will still be rich in calories because of the natural oils in the hazelnuts. One heaped teaspoon contains upwards of 80 calories, and when you consider the fact that one teaspoon probably won’t spread very far on your toast or bagel, it’s easy to see how people can consume far too much of the stuff.
Lately, smoothies and fresh fruit and vegetable juices have grown hugely in popularity, as people do seem to value their health a lot more than decades ago. If you make your own smoothies, this is fine because you control what goes in. Many health experts recommend that you place an emphasis on fresh vegetables rather than fruits, because fruits contain naturally high levels of fructose. The problem is that it is these sugars which give fruits their deliciously sweet taste, and therefore it’s often these sugars that make smoothies taste nice. Big companies aren’t stupid, they know that the sweeter their smoothies are, the nicer they will be, which is why they cram them full of fruits. Green smoothies for example, are often loaded full of fruits like kiwi, banana, lime, apple, and pineapple, with far less greens like kale, spinach, and spirulina. Drinking these smoothies is still a heck of a lot healthier than starting your day with pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup, but if you go with store-bought, your smoothie will be full of sugar, meaning it will be rich in calories. Did you know that some smoothies out there actually contain more calories than a fast food hamburger? This doesn’t make them unhealthier than a burger, because you can’t measure the health qualities of a food based upon its caloric content. What it does mean however, is that your calorie intakes can creep up quite quickly, if you’re drinking one or two store-bought smoothies a day.
Avocado is incredibly healthy, in fact, it is considered a superfood by many. Just because it is healthy however, that does not mean that you can have as much as you like. A little avocado each day will do you the world of good. Too much however, and you will quickly find yourself in a caloric surplus. The fats found in avocados help reduce unhealthy cholesterol, they give you energy, they boost the immune system, they improve brain health and function, and much more besides, but avocados are still high in calories, so you need to limit how much you consume. Depending on what else you are eating each day, experts recommend roughly half an avocado each day, sometimes more, and sometimes a little less.
Cereal bars are very popular at the moment, especially as more and more people are struggling to find the time to eat breakfast in a morning. Instead, they simply reach for a cereal bar and away they go. Typically made with oats, grains, seeds, and dried fruits, their ingredients are pretty healthy. Cereal bars provide a sustained release of energy, they’re rich in healthy fats, rich in minerals, and rich in B vitamins, sounds good, right? Well, all of that is true, and while they are generally considered healthy, this does not make them low in calories. One small bar will often contain upwards of 300 calories, which is roughly the same as a full mean for some people. Snack on one or two per day and you’re looking at 300 – 600 calories per day, which over the course of a week, works out at 2100 – 4200 calories per week. When you consider the fact that these bars maybe keep you feeling satisfied for 30 minutes or so, you have to ask yourself if they’re really worth the extra calories.
Before you begin panicking, just remember that we’re not saying the foods and drinks in this article are bad, we’re just saying that they’re full of hidden calories. Peanut butter is a prime example of this as it is incredibly rich in calories because of the natural oils found in the peanuts. When you choose a peanut butter, you want one made with nothing but 100% pure ground peanuts. Forget generic brands as these contain even more added oils, salts, and sugars, and actually are considered unhealthy. Natural peanut butter however, is very good for you, providing you don’t consume too much. Limit the amount you consume, weigh your food if you can, track your macros, and don’t be tempted to go back for another spoonful too often, otherwise your waistline will not be all that happy, and neither will you when your jeans don’t fasten properly.