Five healthy foods that have more calories than chocolate
TRYING to eat healthy, but struggling to lose weight? The problem could lie in your portion sizes. Sure, choosing avocado instead of butter or wholegrain crackers instead of a packet of chips is a wise idea – but often these “healthier” foods can contain more calories than you might think.
To give you some perspective, let’s use chocolate as a reference value. Two squares (that is, 20 grams) of 70 per cent dark chocolate contains 491 kilojoules (117 calories). Let’s see how that stacks up: One avocado = 1379 kilojoules (330 calories)
Avocado is rich in healthy fats that are good for your heart – but that makes it very energy-dense. So, instead of the whole avo that you’re usually served at Sunday brunch, stick to just a quarter of an avocado per meal.
One tablespoon of olive oil = 681 kilojoules (163 calories)
In comparison to carbs and protein that contain 17 kilojoules (4 calories) per gram, fat contains 38 kilojoules (9 calories) per gram. So when you’ve got pure fat – like olive oil – a little goes a long way. That’s not to say it’s not good for you, but pouring oil over everything like you’re Jamie Oliver can send the calorie content skyrocketing.
A slice of wholegrain bread = 537 kilojoules (128 calories)
Yes, bread is a healthy food. And no, carbs are not innately bad for you. When you opt for a wholegrain variety, you’ll get a dose of long-lasting energy as well as fibre to support a healthy gut.
Two slices of reduced-fat cheddar cheese = 589 kilojoules (141 calories)
Cheese also makes the cut on this list of healthy foods with more calories than chocolate. It’s probably no surprise, however, that I’m not talking about the creamy camembert you usually dig into on a Saturday afternoon. Instead, I’m talking about reduced-fat lower sodium options like ricotta that provide protein for muscle growth and calcium for strong bones.
One tablespoon of peanut butter = 622 kilojoules (149 calories)
Your favourite toast topper is healthy too, as long as you’re opting for a natural variety. Again, peanut butter is rich in healthy fats that supply a lot of energy, so sticking to sensible portions is key. The verdict
I’m not trying to tell you that chocolate is better for you than these healthy wholefoods – that’s certainly not the case. I’m simply trying to demonstrate that being mindful of portions and understanding where calories come from is key for successful weight management. Of course, the nutrient-density of your diet is paramount, so focus on sensible portions of healthy core foods and a healthy weight should follow.
Melissa Meier is an accredited practising dietitian. You can follow her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.