Keeping tabs of total calorie intake is a good idea for everyone, and it’s an absolute must for anyone trying to lose weight. While the quality of foods that you eat will also be vital for success, you must consume fewer calories than you burn each day if you hope to see weight-loss progress.
One of the biggest problems that many dieters face is that calories sneak into their meals and snacks without them realizing it. Unless you are aware of all the places where calories lurk, there is a good chance that you will find yourself taking in more than you need.
Without a food journal, almost everyone underestimates how much they’re actually eating. Let’s go over the main calories that are overlooked.
• Your morning coffee. If you aren’t requesting your coffee black, the sugar and cream equal an easy 100 calories more per day. Order black coffee instead or, better yet, green tea.
• Your salad. All the add-ins – dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese, croutons and so on – can easily add 500 more calories to your otherwise healthy salad. Request your salad without these toppings, or with them on the side.
• Your pasta dish. If it uses cream or cheese sauce, that’s far too many added calories right there. In fact, pasta should be avoided in most cases as it’s simply too high in carbs to support optimal fat loss.
• Your stir-fry. If you’re using a store-bought sauce, chances are you are taking in way more sugar, salt and calories than you realize.
• Your breakfast bowl. Start measuring out your serving size. Most people eat 2–3 times as much food as what’s listed on a typical serving, and that’s definitely the case with cereal. Double the nutritional information to match what you’re actually eating.
• Your fruit-flavored yogurt. There is a great deal of added sugar in flavored yogurts that will drive up the calorie content. Buy plain, and add mix-ins like fresh fruit and nuts yourself.
• Your sandwich. If ordering from a sandwich bar, make sure to request it without mayonnaise, cheese or butter. Load it up with vegetables instead.
• Your grilled steak. If you’re preparing a steak and using commercial barbeque sauce, you are taking in far more sugar than you realize. Check the label to see just how many calories it contains.
• Your veggie dip. Most vegetable dips are very high in calories and fat and will turn an otherwise healthy snack into a very unhealthy one. Prepare your own dip with fat-free yogurt or fresh salsa.
• Your protein bar. Make sure to read the label information as most of these are filled with excess sugar that will make the bar as high in calories as the average candy bar – with hardly any more nutrients.
The Bottom Line:
Pay special attention to these foods, and make sure that you aren’t taking in more calories than it appears at a glance. If you’re not careful, these additions could easily add up to an extra 300–500 calories per day, totally setting your weight-loss progress off track.