Staying fit and healthy is something with which the majority of us are concerned and we are lucky since it has never been easier to lead a healthy life. Thanks to healthy eating plans, nutritious cookbooks and easy access to nutritious foods, many of us can stay in top shape, while still indulging from time to time.
It turns out, however, that things might not be as simple as we have been led to believe. While diet foods might offer us certain health benefits, they also come with a whole set of other ingredients too, which aren’t exactly kind to the waistline. Taken in small quantities, these foods can have a positive benefit on our health but eat too much of them and they can start to have the opposite effect.
10. Cereal Bars
On the whole, cereal bars are a great way of picking yourself up after a late afternoon slump, giving you just the right amount of energy to finish the day on a high note. Full of oats and dried fruits, they are generally healthy, but eat too much of them and you might see a different side. While the wholemeal in cereal bars is a fantastic source of slow release energy, the fats and sugars used to make the snack taste nice are not as fantastic. They might look small, but your average bar probably contains between 250 and 300 calories. Eat one every day and that will soon build up. Instead, it’s worth picking a cereal bar without all of the extra added fats and sugars; naturally flavoured snacks are usually the best way to go.
9. Macadamia Nuts
Nuts and seeds are some of the healthiest things that you can snack on and yet, if you eat too many of them, you might notice your weight skyrocket. While all nuts contain healthy fatty acids, consuming them in high quantities can lead to weight gain and fat storage down the line, which will have an adverse effect on your health. Out of all of the nuts, Macadamias are the worst when it comes to fat content. With a whopping 201 calories per ounce, macadamia nuts will make you gain back every ounce you might have lost with healthy eating. Choosing a lower calorie seed such as flax seeds or chia seeds can make a great alternative to the macadamia, without scrimping on the health benefits.
Look on any Instagram feed of the past few months and you will be bombarded by a sea of avocado on toast shots. The humble avocado pear is having something of a moment in the food photography world and if you’re not eating them, then you’re seriously missing out on a trick. While they might be delicious and healthy, avocados are also packed high with calories and fat. One avocado will typically contain around 330 calories, something that might push your healthy lunch choice over the edge. Although the health benefits the fruit has are numerous, it pays to consume them in moderation. Having an avocado a few times a week will be enough to keep your waistline in check and should ensure that you benefit from all of the health boosts, too.
7. Vitamin Water
Nowadays, plain water won’t suffice and if you believe what the marketing gurus tell you, then you should be drinking vitamin water by the bucketload. While there are dozens of different kinds on sale in the marketplace, they all claim to have similar benefits to our health, packed full of additional vitamins and minerals that just don’t exist in normal water. The only issue is that, in order to get people hooked on them, companies fill their drinks with sugars and flavourings which, when consumed in abundance, can have negative effects on our health. Some drinks are so jam-packed with added extras, that they have totted up a shocking 350 calories per serving. When it comes to hydration, there is nothing more effective than plain water. Your waistline will thank you, too.
Spreading your sandwich with a generous serving of hummus might seem like a healthy alternative to butter, but things might not be exactly as they seem. While hummus is made from fibre-rich chickpeas, lemon, olive oil and sesame paste, if consumed in high quantities, it can be very unhealthy indeed. The sesame paste is naturally high in fatty acidsand as a result, adds a real calorific kick to each snack. Indulging in hummus from time to time is certainly not a bad idea, but eat it every day and you might struggle to close your top button properly. While reducing your portions will help you to stay on top of your health, you can also try opting for the lower calorie versions, too.
Replacing carbohydrates with supergrains is something that has been going on for a long time in the extreme health food world and now, many of us are doing the same thing in our own kitchens. While grains such as quinoa can do wonders for our health, they can also help us to pile on the pounds, too. After it has been cooked and allowed to sufficiently puff up, quinoa contains around 222 calories per cup, which can really add a calorific punch to your meal. Eating too much of the grain can start to have the opposite effect on your waistline so if you want to stay trim, keep quinoa as a side dish or a smaller element of a larger meal.
In terms of health benefits, oily fish has dozens. High in protein and packed full of omega 3, oily fish is one of the healthiest meat substances that we can eat and those who indulge in a high fish diet are generally believed to live much longer than others. However, eat too much oily fish and you might start to see a build-up in your fat reserves. Mackerel contains the highest calories of fish out there and can tot up a total of 230 calories per serving. Add this to the fatty acids in the meat, and you could start to see a change in your weight. If you’re looking for the health benefits of an oily fish without all of the calories, tuna steak or sardines is the way to go.
3. Low Fat Yoghurt
The words “low fat” do not necessarily equate to lower calories and in some cases, diet foods might be more unhealthy than their regular counterparts. Where yoghurts fare, lower fat versions might just be the worst kind that you could get. Scrimping on the fat content, they are packed with sugars and artificial flavourings in order to taste nice for customers. In some cases, high sugar content might even cause them to have higher calories than full fat versions. Choosing a natural or greek yoghurt might be the way to go if you want to stay in shape. Adding chopped fruit on top will give the snack a flavoursome kick.
2. Dried Fruit
While dried fruit might not be the worst thing that you can choose to eat, it’s certainly not the most healthy. Packed full of sugars and carbohydrates, dried fruits can be incredibly calorific, and absent-mindedly chewing on them could have adverse effects on your waistline. Out of all of the varieties, prunes might be the worst culprit out there. Per half cup serving, the fruit packs up a huge 224 calories; eat any more than that and you might have blown nearly a quarter of your calories for the day. If you want to choose a dehydrated fruit, opt for snacks like dried apple or banana.
1. Dark Chocolate
When dark chocolate was announced to be healthy, chocolate lovers breathed in relief. Finally, indulging in sweet treats was not a bad thing and eating a square or two of the dark variety was acceptable. It turns out, however, that it might not be quite as good as we initially thought. While dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants, we only need to consume a small amount in order to receive all of the health benefits. Dark chocolate is still chocolate and as a result, is packed full of various sugars and fats . If you want to treat yourself, only eat a square or two at a time. Any more and you might eliminate all of the health benefits.
Eating healthily is something which we all endeavour to do, but with certain healthy foods containing more calories than junk foods, it can be hard to keep up. If you want to look after your body, moderating what you eat is the best way to go. You can keep in shape and eat all of the delicious healthy food you want; just try and vary what you put in!