Not-So-Healthy “Health” Foods

According to nutritionist Theresa Albert, calories can be hidden in the seemingly healthiest of foods. Here are six of the worst calorie culprits and what you can do to keep your diet in check.


1. Sushi

  • Avoid mayonnaise, tempura bits and cream cheese.
  • Never order anything deep-fried.
  • Always opt for brown rice instead of white.
  • Choose vegetable rolls that contain mushrooms, avocado and/or cucumbers.
  • Order less sushi and add edamame (soybeans) to your meal, which are low in calories and high in protein.

2. Salads

  • Add high-calorie toppers (e.g. dried fruits, nuts, cheese, olives and avocado) with extreme caution.
  • Just say no to candied nuts, cheese-as-a-protein and croutons.
  • Always order dressing on the side and dip your fork in it, then the salad.
  • Bacon, ham and other high-sodium meats should be avoided. Opt for shrimp, chicken, boiled egg, tuna or salmon instead.
  • Choose vinaigrettes over creamy dressings. Even better, dress your salad with lemon juice.

3. Protein Bars

  • Unless you've been killing it at the gym, you probably don't need that protein bar.
  • A chocolate bar (that's right, as in candy) may actually have fewer calories and even a comparable amount of sugar.
  • If you're in need of a pick-me-up, you're better off having an apple, 1/2 cup of skim milk and a handful of nuts, which total 205 calories and are much higher in nutrients.
  • Processed food isn't the best way to help your body recover from physical activity or combat hunger. Real food rules.

4. Smoothies

  • Smoothies often contain fruit concentrates instead of the fresh stuff, which have a lower nutritional value.
  • Ask for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, milk or protein powder to get the most nutritional value out of your smoothie.
  • Add ice cubes for bulk and use less juice.
  • Liquid calories don't register in your brain the same way food calories do, so try to 'chew' your smoothie.

5. Granola

  • Some granola is no better for your than cookies!
  • Avoid granolas that includes things like marshmallows, rainbow chips and chocolate.
  • Be very aware of serving size.
  • Remember, homemade is best.

6. Wraps

  • Avoid wraps that feature deep-fried chicken in a starring role.
  • Wrap it up in a whole-wheat tortilla.
  • Calorie-wise, one 10-inch wrap is the equivalent of three pieces of bread. (Just because it's flat, doesn't mean it's low-calorie.)
  • Avoid sauces, spreads and dressings, which are just empty calories.
  • Load up on veggies!


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