It’s confusing out there. One minute, you’re the pinnacle of health; the next, you’re unknowingly committing a diet don’t! Read on to discover five common mistakes that turn healthy foods into bad choices. Because your good intentions should pay off.
Not Watching What You Put in Your Salad
Salad is the quintessential diet food, but it can easily turn into a calorie catastrophe. Too many popular add-ins are loaded with calories. I’m talking mounds of croutons, tortilla strips, cheese, and candied nuts. But the biggest and most common culprit? The dressing.
A perfectly healthy salad becomes a calorie nightmare once it’s doused in full-fat dressing. A two-tablespoon serving of standard dressing has around 150 calories, but most entrée salads contain two to three times that amount. Think you’re being smart by ordering the chicken Caesar salad instead of pasta? Think again. Those salads average about 850 calories!
HG tip: Go with light dressing on the side, and use sparingly. As I like to say, “Dip, don’t pour!” You could also use a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or a spoonful of salsa instead to make a healthier salad.
Drinking Your Fruits and Veggies
When you juice a bunch of fruits and veggies, you lose all the filling fiber. And since it takes so many fruits and veggies to make a small amount of juice, the end result can be fairly calorie packed. I’m a fan of the occasional at-home smoothie, but not all smoothies are created equal. Most smoothie-shop offerings are full of fattening ingredients: granola, full-fat dairy, sugary syrups, nut butters, and more. So before you head to the Groovy Smoothie, check the nutritional stats! You may be surprised.
Eating Too Much of a Good Thing
In the past few years, full-fat foods have made a comeback. Food with monosaturated fat (MUFAs)—olive oil, avocado, and almonds—are considered “good” fats. It’s true that these foods come with many nutritional benefits, but they tend to be very calorie dense. This means a small portion contains a lot of calories.
For example, a single tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories. A quarter-cup of mixed nuts has around 200 calories. And a large avocado has about 320 calories. Restaurants are notorious for serving over-the-top portions of these foods, but you only need a small amount to reap the nutritional benefits. So, keep an eye on your portions, and make these foods an accessory, not the main event!
Drowning Lean Protein and Veggies in Fattening Sauces
There’s no quicker way to turn a healthy dinner upside-down than to smother it with bad-news sauce. Most cream sauces contain heavy cream, butter, oil, mayo, and/or flour. If you’re reading a menu, watch out for hollandaise, béchamel, carbonara, and Alfredo. Scary stuff! Better options? Tomato sauce, lemon juice, salsa, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. If you can’t resist a decadent sauce, order it on the side. At least this way you can control how much of it you eat!
Making Granola a Main Player in Your Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Oh, granola. How you’ve fooled us all. This is one of those seemingly healthy foods that is actually crammed with calories. A single cup has about 500 calories and 30 grams of fat. Who would have thought!
Granola is meant to be eaten in small portions, but most people eat two to three servings at a time without realizing. I tend to avoid granola, personally, but if you like it on your morning parfait, keep the portion size to a few tablespoons. Focus on fruit instead; bring on the berries, banana, and pineapple!
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