When it comes to gaining body fat, the real culprit is HOW MUCH we eat, not just WHAT we eat. Even healthy food can make you fat if you over indulge. And while it’s less likely for a person to become obese from consuming unprocessed, whole foods, you still need to be aware of what exactly a serving size is.
The fact is most people have NO idea what a correct serving size is – and so while they think they’re dieting they’re taking in excess calories that scupper their efforts.
So for today’s Top 10 I’m taking a look at 10 ‘healthy’ foods that tend to get overeaten – often by mistake. So get measuring everyone!
1. Beans – Beans are an awesome food! They’re full of fiber, protein, and a great source of carbohydrates. But in some cases just 1/3 cup can contain almost 200 calories! That’s hardly anything. Think of it this way, 1/6 of a Ben & Jerry’s size container (a pint) is the most I recommend you eat at each sitting. Not much right? So eat your beans – but be aware of all the calories you’re taking in.
2. Natural Peanut Butter – You all probably know by now that I love PB. But boy is this stuff super calorie dense. Just 2 tablespoons has about 200 calories depending on the brand – so this one’s super easy to overeat. Usually, I spread it my PB as thin and evenly as possible, and only eat it once per day.
3. Brown Rice – This is a staple of many people’s diet, but once again it’s often overeaten. One serving is just ½ cup dry (or ½ of a boil in the bag variety). Those add up to 150 calories, and while rice is nutritious it’s hardly filling. I add broccoli and other veggies to the rice to make it more bulky.
4. Sweet Potatoes – I could eat these by the pound! Per ounce they have about 30 calories, so a pear sized potato (6 oz.) has about 180 calories and is almost all carbohydrates. Yes, I know the monster-sized versions baked in the oven are delicious, but you can always save half for later. I usually third a big potato and add veggies to the dish.
5. Pasta – Whether you eat the white or high protein / fiber variety, each pound of pasta contains about 1,600 calories and between 6 – 8 servings. Most restaurants serve at least ½ pound, and some as much as a pound! That’s way too much. Make sure if you insist on eating pasta, it’s a small side dish and not part of the main course.
6. Cheese – Although I’m not a big fan of milk products, I do occasionally use cheese in a few meals. But a domino-sized piece of the hard variety can have 150 calories, and shredded is even worse; a generous sprinkle of your favorite shred can have 200 calories! When you use it, be sure to use as little as possible and opt for the low fat version.
7. Oatmeal – This breakfast food has been promoted as great source of nutrition for a long time now. But a serving size is just ½ cup dry, which is 150 calories. However many of us eat much more at home and when ordered at a diner, you can get 3 times as much! Oatmeal is great, but when you add fruit, a drop of milk, and a sprinkle of nuts, the calories add up quick. Measure out ½ cup and stick to it.
8. Fruit – The great thing about Mother Nature is that she’s provided serving sizes of most fruits. But when we eat fruit bowls / salads consisting of various fruits, they can contain up to 500 calories of natural, but simple sugar. My suggestion is to eat most fruit as it comes, and choose the smallest, rather than the largest apple, pear, orange etc. With loose fruit, such as berries and grapes, consume no more than 1 cup.
9. Egg Whites – This is the rare food that’s under eaten. Egg whites are a great source of protein, but each white has only 12 calories. So eating just one or two isn’t going to do much. I suggest 6 egg whites with one yolk for a nice shot of amino acids and quality muscle building nutrients.
10. Nuts – I love nuts, but they too are calorie dense. If you munch on nuts during a movie, or buy the canned variety, you can easily eat 500 – 750 calories at a pop. A handful of most varieties can contain up to 200 calories. So when you grab some to eat, loosely fill your palm and that’s it!
So there you go. Remember everyone it’s how much you eat – not just what you eat!
Any questions – fire away!