There are plenty of foods that are high in calories. We all know that cheesecake, ice cream, and pie are calorie-dense. What about foods that you wouldn’t expect to be high in calories? Below is a list of surprisingly high-calorie foods that you’d never expect.
1. Peanut Butter
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Well, besides people that are allergic to peanuts, of course. Creamy or chunky, peanut butter is a favorite food of many people. But, do you realize just how many calories are in peanut butter? Just two tablespoons of regular peanut butter have 188 calories. And your average peanut butter and jelly sandwich has 3 or 4 tablespoons. That’s almost 400 calories!
There’s good news, though. There is a low-calorie powdered peanut butter that came on the market a few years ago, and it’s a game changer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about PB2. PB2 is a delicious low-fat, low-calorie peanut butter that comes in powdered form. Just add water and mix to make it into peanut butter.
2. Fruit Juice
When most people think about fruit juice, they think that it’s healthy. The truth is, fruit juice isn’t much better for you than soda. Actually, fruit juice is basically non-carbonated soda with some vitamins in it. Packed with calories from sugar, most fruit juice has the same amount of calories as soda.
In fact, some fruit juice has more calories than soda. One cup of apple juice has 113 calories. By comparison, one cup of Coca-Cola has 97 calories. Now, I’m not saying you should start drinking Coke with your breakfast instead of apple juice. Just be aware – especially if you are trying to lose weight – that fruit juice is packed with calories.
3. Salad Dressing
There’s no faster way to make a nice, healthy garden salad into a calorie-dense nutritional disaster than by adding a ton of high-calorie salad dressing. Salads are great. They are very low calorie and take a while to eat. And, you’d be hard-pressed to find a food with a better crunch-to-calorie ratio.
Some dressings have as many as 200 calories per 2 tablespoons. If you’re like me, you like to put a lot of dressing on your salad. This is how to turn a healthy 100 calorie salad into a 500 calorie salad with just 4 tbsp. of dressing. The good news is that there are plenty of low-fat and low-calorie dressings out there.
Another thing to be aware of with salad dressing is its sodium content. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, make sure to pick a dressing that isn’t loaded with sodium.
I’ve heard a lot of people refer to yogurt as healthy. A lot. The truth is that most yogurts are packed with sugar and fat. For example, one small 6 oz. Yoplait yogurt has 150 calories and 18 grams of sugar. By comparison, 6 oz. of Coca Cola has 72 calories and 20 grams of sugar. That’s not what I would consider healthy.
A much better option that has become popular for the last few years is Greek yogurt. My personal favorite is Chobani Greek yogurt. One container about the same size as a Yoplait yogurt has only 100 calories and 8 grams of sugar. I like to mix chocolate protein powder with plain Chobani Greek yogurt to make a delicious chocolate pudding.
Nuts are a great source or protein and healthy fats. But, they are also loaded with calories, mostly from the fat. One cup of mixed nuts has over 500 calories! Macadamia nuts and pecans have the most calories with 200 per ounce. Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and walnuts are close with 190 per ounce.
Nuts can be a great snack food. But make sure you limit your servings. Like anything, moderation is the key. Very few foods are truly “unhealthy.” Nothing is bad in moderation. The problem is when you over-eat. Keep your portion sizes reasonable and you can enjoy all the foods you love without compromising your goals.
6. Olive Oil
You’ve probably heard that olive oil is good for you and it absolutely is. In fact, it’s one of the healthiest fat sources out there. You’ve probably heard about the Mediterranean Diet. This diet has been shown to improve heart health, lower cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure. One of the main ingredients used in Mediterranean cooking is olive oil. It is high in unsaturated fats, which are good for you.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is very high in calories. Just one tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories. One tablespoon. If you are on a diet and trying to lose weight, be aware of this. A tablespoon here and tablespoon there will add up quickly.
Speaking of healthy unsaturated fats, let’s talk about avocados. Avocados, also known as alligator pears, are a delicious fruit native to South and Central America. These delicious fruits go great in salads and are the main ingredient in guacamole.
Like olive oil, though, avocados are high in unsaturated fats. One cup of sliced avocado has 234 calories. The majority of these calories come from healthy monounsaturated fats. Like olive oil, eating avocado is a great way to get the healthy fats that you need for energy, hormone production, and other biological processes. Just be aware that they are full of calories.
8. Trail Mix and Dried Fruit
When you are out on the trail, you want a snack that is packed with calories, convenient to carry, and easy to eat. Trail mix is designed to satisfy all of these needs. When you are engaged in moderate or intense physical activity for hours at a time, your body almost immediately converts what you eat into energy. But when you’re sitting around, not burning a lot of calories, your body is more likely to store what you eat as fat.
Trail mix is high in calories, by design. One cup of trail mix can have anywhere from 600 to 1000 calories per cup, depending on what’s in it. And a cup of dried fruit with no sugar added can have as many as 500 calories. These snacks are great when you’re hiking, swimming, rock climbing, or engaging in any other vigorous activity. I personally really like Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix. But if you are trying to watch your calorie intake, be aware that trail mix and dried fruit can pack as many as 1000 calories per cup.
Who doesn’t love cheese? American, Cheddar, Parmesan, Provolone, Swiss, Colby, Brie, Mozzarella… I could go on and on. Cheese is delicious and is found in tons of different recipes.
But, depending on the type, cheese can be very calorie-dense. Several types of cheese have more than 100 calories per ounce. The good news is that several types of cheese have low-calorie alternatives. For example, one ounce of regular cheddar cheese has about 115 calories. Yet one ounce of low-fat cheddar cheese has only 48 calories. I love cheese (again, who doesn’t?) and refuse to give it up when I’m watching my calories. I just switch to lower fat versions and enjoy it just as much.
As you can see, all of the above foods are surprisingly high in calories. Many of them are often thought of as “health foods,” and do have a number of great qualities. But, if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to make sure you’re not overeating any of these deceptively-calorie-dense foods.
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