Swap It, Don’t Stop It: 8 Foods With Hidden Calories

Making healthier choices doesn’t have to mean cutting out all your favourite foods, even if they are harbouring some hidden calories. Sometimes it’s as simple as opting for lower calorie options.

Here are 8 foods which might be making you put on fat and their alternatives to try.

1. Coffee

Coffee may get you out of bed every morning, but do you know how many calories you are actually consuming? Latte lovers beware, just two large lattes a day can equate to an additional 2,492 calories a week. That’s the equivalent of almost five McDonalds Big Mac burgers. The figures get worse if you have a sweet tooth. Say you are indulging in large caramel lattes twice a day, that could be costing you 3,514 calories per week.

But just because you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you need to cut out caffeine. By simply switching to skim milk instead of full cream you can halve those calories. If you’re looking to go a step further, order a black coffee such as a long black, which has zero calories.

2. Sushi

Swinging by your local sushi chain for dinner is a great way to shed the kilos – right? Well, it depends on what you’re ordering. Some popular rolls such as rainbow, California, tempura and philly could be packing in up to 365 calories per plate. If you grab a couple of plates (as most people will), that can quickly add up to over 700 calories – whoops!

However, there are plenty of tasty options which are lower calorie and have a higher protein to calorie ratio. This means they’ll help you hit your all-important protein goals so you can get leaner and stronger. Sashimi choices including mackerel, salmon, ahi tuna and yellowtail are a good choice which will come in at under 56 calories each. Alternatively, opt for nigiri which has a moderate protein to calorie ratio. Nigiri ahi tuna, salmon, yellowtail or eel are all 66 calories or under.

3. Meat

Getting adequate protein is the most important nutrient when you are trying to lose weight. Your body uses protein to build and repair muscle, bones and organs but it also boosts metabolism and leaves you feeling fuller for longer [1]. Meat is an excellent source of protein, but not all cuts are created equal. In fact, just 100g of rib-eye amounts to 255 calories, compared to a fillet steak, which is only 155 calories.

Rather than reaching for three-star beef mince (230 calories/100g from Woolworths), choose extra lean beef mince (131 calories/100g from Woolworths). Swap out chicken drumsticks (235 calories/100g) for chicken breast (105 calories/100g) and always look for lean meats, such as kangaroo.

4. Oil

It’s easy to forget you also need to calculate everything your meal absorbs during the cooking process. Oils are calorie-dense and can be a culprit for adding hidden calories to an otherwise healthy meal. Just one tablespoon of olive oil will add 119 calories, but there are ways to use oil in your cooking, without all those extra calories.

The issue with oil is in portion size. Control how much oil you are using by choosing a spray over pouring oil. This will allow you to get a more even spread of oil in the pan, and greatly reduce the amount you need to use per meal. For example, using a spray may mean you only need 2g of olive oil. That’s adding just 18 calories to the whole meal.

5. Salad dressings

Salads are an easy on-the-go option and most are packed full of nutrients and fibre. However, be careful what dressings you use on them. Just two tablespoons of Caesar salad dressing can add up to 200 calories – that’s a lot of hidden calories! Add to that all the other salad ingredients such as eggs, chicken, bacon, parmesan cheese and croutons and you have a high-fat, high-calorie meal. Before you know it, you’re eating the equivalent calories of a bowl of creamy pasta or a burger.

To keep your calories under control on your salads, reach for dressings such as red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. One tablespoon of each will come in at under 40 calories. If you prefer the creaminess of a Caesar dressing, look out for light versions, which can be 80 calories per two tablespoons.

6. Sauces

You may have calculated the ingredients in your meal to perfection, but you may want to think twice before lathering it in sauce. It may seem like you’re not using much, but some options like mayonnaise have plenty of hidden calories. For example, one tablespoon of Praise Whole Egg Mayonnaise adds up to 129 calories. But if you opt for the 97% fat free option, the same amount drops to just 24 calories.

Other higher calorie sauces to watch out for include gravy, cheese sauces, ranch and pesto. Remember, there’s plenty of alternatives so there’s no need to miss out – just swap it out or be conscious of your portions.

7. Soft drinks

It’s no secret that that soft drinks are traditionally packed full of sugar, but there are plenty of zero calorie alternatives. Swap Coke for Coke Zero or other sugar free options. Remember, everything is best in moderation. Although water is always going to be the healthiest option, a can of sugar free soft drink every now and then is okay.

8. Fruit juice

If you struggle to get enough servings of fruit into your diet, juice might seem like a healthy alternative. Think again. Drinking juice can be a shortcut to adding a heap of calories to your diet. One glass of Woolworths Apple Juice amounts to 110 calories – and that’s assuming you only have 250mL. Although it’s not far off the 95 calories in a medium apple, most fruit juices are stripped of their healthy fibre which helps you feel full. Since you won’t feel as satiated, you may drink more and have the calories creep up unexpectedly.

For more advice on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, book in a consultation today.


[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-protein-can-help-you-lose-weight

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