Watch out for foods that aren't as healthy as they appear to be. Just because you have chosen a salad don't automatically assume that you have gone with the healthy option! Sometimes a salad isn't really a salad - sometimes your healthy choice can contain more calories than steak and chips!
Do you struggle to lose weight despite always making healthy food choices? If yes, then you’re one of the many unwitting dieters who pick their meals and snacks by their name rather than what’s actually in them!
‘Often when we want to eat virtuously, we make assumptions about foods based on their description. But, in reality, the healthier-sounding option may actually contain more calories than the one that sounds fattening,’ says Bridget Benelam, senior nutrition scientist from the British Nutrition Foundation.
Over time, that can have a big impact on your waistband. ‘If you want to lose weight, don’t take food at face value. Dig deeper and check out the calories,’ says Bridget. ‘You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that the unhealthy-sounding option actually contains fewer calories than the healthy one!’
To help you cut through the name game, check my list, where the healthier-sounding option isn’t necessarily the lower-calorie one…
Diet trap: Starbucks Skinny Lemon and Poppyseed Muffin - 424 cals
Healthier choice: Starbucks Pain Au Chocolat - 296 cals
Diet trap: Eat Natural bar With… Almonds, Apricots and a Yoghurt Coating - 228 cals
Healthier choice: Milky Way - 97 cals
Diet trap: Ploughman’s lunch - 1200 cals
Healthier choice: Scampi, chips and peas - 800 cals
Lunch on the run
Diet trap: Pret-a-Manger Falafel and Halloumi Hot Wrap - 600 cals
Healthier choice: Pret-a-Manger Smokey Root Veg & Bean Soup - 192 cals
Diet trap: Carrot cake - 305 calls
Healthier choice: Chocolate éclair - 170 cals
Diet trap: Large bowl of granola with banana and milk - 510 cals
Healthier choice: Fried egg sandwich with ketchup - 355 cals
Diet trap: Chicken Caesar salad - 780 cals
Healthier choice: Small grilled rump steak, low-fat oven chips, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, and salad - 440 cals
Don't be fooled...• Products described as fresh, natural, fair-trade, free from or organic have absolutely no bearing on calorie content.
• Low fat doesn’t mean low calorie – some low-fat products are still extremely high in sugar and calories.
• If nutrition information isn’t available, for example, when you’re eating out, keep in mind that ingredients such as cheese, mayonnaise, nuts, dressings and croutons will all bump up the calories.
• To lose weight and stay healthy, opt for lower-calorie, nutrient-packed foods. Although often higher in calories, smoothies contain more vitamins than fizzy drinks and count towards your five-a-day but, for weight loss, you’re better off with a glass of water and piece of fresh fruit.
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!