While nuts are high in good fats and are a great source of protein, they are extremely high in calories so portion size is crucial! ¼ cup of nuts is generally 200 calories. ¼ cup is about the size of a golf ball for nuts. You can easily eat ½ cup or 1 cup of nuts (about the size of baseball) a day which would equal to 400-800 calories, yikes! Stop munching!
2. Peanut butter vs Nutella
Peanut butter is also high in calories but is a great source of protein. Again 2 tbsp is about 200 calories and only the size of a ping pong or golf ball. Watch portions wisely. However when comparing it to Nutella, Peanut Butter has 6 g protein and 9 g carbs, while Nutella has 200 calories also but only 2 g protein and 21 g carbs! (Almond Butter is very similar to Peanut Butter in nutritional content)
3. Olive Oil vs Salad Dressings
Olive oil is again high in good fats, so people often think it’s the best option for cooking and salad dressings. While it is healthier in that it has no carbohydrates, sugar, or added ingredients when compared to salad dressings, it is very thin and you can overdo it on portions. 1 tbsp is 120 calories vs 2 tbsp of ranch dressing is about the same with 130. If you can use sparingly and only use ½ tbsp or less, it’s a great option! However if you pour it on and use 2 tbsp, holy moly, you just added 240 calories to your salad.
4. Whole Wheat Muffins and Whole Wheat Bagels
Just because it’s whole grain doesn’t mean its light. While whole wheat muffins and bagels may be an excellent idea for athletes or growing teenagers, it is very high in calories. One muffin or bagel is generally 300 calories, and very dense in carbohydrates containing about 50-60 g each. A better option is an English muffin or whole wheat bread. These both equal about 120 calories, and you can top it with an egg or tbsp peanut butter for less the calories of one muffin.
Granola varies depending on type and what it consists of, but most average about 150 calories per ¼ cup. Do u eat ¼ cup? If u eat ½ cup -1 cup that is 300-600 calories! Wow!
Avocados are loaded in monounsaturated fats, but wow high in calories. 1 large avocado is 380 calories!!
7. Crackers vs Bread
Crackers can be very high in calories, about 17 calories a cracker. If u add this up, 7 crackers has as many calories as 2 slices bread! May have just as well had that sandwich you wanted.
Again portion size is key. Cereal can be a great breakfast or a really bad one. You want to either look for a cereal with protein and fiber in it, or eat a small serving size (listed on label) and have a serving of protein on the side. General rules for good cereals are 8 g sugar or less, 2.5-5 g fiber, and at least 5 g protein.
9. Protein Bars
Protein bars can be a great snack or become a meal rather than snack. Aim for bars 200 calories, 30 g carbs, and 10 g protein. Stay away from bars with 300-400 calories, unless you are trying to gain weight or use as a meal replacement.
While smoothies may be delicious and a great way to get in your fruit, it can be low in protein and extremely high in carbohydrates!! Be careful and know what you are ingesting before you do. A 20 oz Angel Food Smoothie from Smoothie King has 354 calories 84 g carbs, 75 g sugar, and only 4 g protein.
Estelle L. Benoit, RD, LDN