Most of us try to eat healthy every once in a while. We choose fish over beef, a muffin over a donut, fruit over candy. But sometimes these choices are not as healthy as they may seem. Some of our favorite foods we consider low-calorie or otherwise healthy may be packed with hidden calories we don’t expect. Here are some of the common culprits.
Especially when serving Italian food, many of us feel a breadstick or two won’t hurt, especially if we eat it in place of part of the pasta that is so often the main portion of the meal. While not as healthy as a pile of green beans, the breadstick seems pretty harmless.
If you fix breadsticks at home, they may stay pretty healthy, but breadsticks served in restaurants often have tons of hidden calories. Rather than just baking the breadsticks, restaurants often slather them with butter and sometimes cheese. A single one of these breadsticks may have over 100 calories, double what a plain breadstick contains.
It’s a salad, so it has to be healthy, right? Sure, the lettuce is low in calories, and the romaine has good nutritional value. Garlic, spices, vinegar and lemon juice add great flavor and few calories. The biggest culprit is the abundant cheese in Caesar Salad. Most recipes call for several tablespoons of shredded parmesan, each of which has about 20 calories and 1.5g of fat. Other cheese mixed in, like the common romano, add nearly another 100 calories and over 5g of fat.
The toppings send this salad, well, over the top. Each tablespoon of dressing averages out to about 75 calories and over 8g of fat, and croutons add 70 more along with a couple more grams of fat.
That means a typical Caesar Salad served as a side or appetizer may typically total 300-450 calories and up to 30g of fat.
Size is the reason for the hidden calories in bagels. Gone are the days of reasonable portion sizes, so bagels today often contain around 300 calories in a single serving. This is a plain bagel, no butter or other topping. Putting cream cheese on top can add 35 calories and over 3g of fat per tablespoon. What is startling about these numbers is that a Krispy Kreme raised glazed donut doesn’t have the hidden calories and is only 200 calories total, although it does have 12g of fat. But is the bagel really a healthy choice in comparison?
Calories count, so count calories
Such hidden calories won’t make or break a diet as long as they are not indulged in often, but they can add up surprisingly quickly. Knowing where they lie can help you avoid them or compensate for them, and either way can help you keep a healthy diet plan.
“Nutrient Data Laboratory.” U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Usda.gov.
“Calorie King.” Calorieking.com