Eating healthy can be tough for many of us.
You have to avoid the temptation of eating those foods you know are bad for you, and instead focus on eating the ones that are good for you.
And, for many of us at least, one of the main reasons to eat healthy is to lose some weight.
Avoiding those bad, unhealthy foods should make all that fat melt away, right?
If only it were that simple…
You see, there is a big difference between foods that may be healthy for you – in that they contain vitamins, minerals, ‘good’ fats, fiber, antioxidants, etc – and ones that make it easier to lose weight.
Sometimes they are one and the same thing, as with many vegetables, but there are also many supposedly healthy foods that contain a deceptively high number of calories, making it a real challenge to lose weight.
What’s more, if you build your diet around these so-called ‘healthy’ foods, you may find that you actually put on fat, since you’re unknowingly taking in way too many calories.
To help you make better choices here, I’m going to go over 12 of the most common ‘healthy’ foods (and drinks) that can make you fat if you’re not careful.
Nuts are often seen as a great ‘power’ food.
They are easy to eat, contain a decent amount of protein, are full of healthy fats, and don’t require any preparation.
Just dump ’em in a bowl and you’re ready to go.
Unfortunately, nuts are also loaded with calories!
In just a 1 oz serving of nuts, you’ll be taking in nearly 200 calories.
To put this in perspective, this is a mere handful – which is why nuts are incredibly easy to overeat.
The same goes for peanut butter, where just 2 tablespoons will put you at roughly 190 calories.
2) Dried Fruits
We’re always told that we should have more fruit and vegetables in our diets.
So it follows that dried fruits would be a good, healthy food choice.
They are have all the nutrition of real fruit, just shrunken down into bite-sized form.
This makes them very easy to sit there and snack on – perhaps a little too easy…
Yup, it doesn’t take much to go through a bag full of these things, and take in 100s and 100s of calories in the process.
Imagine eating 8 apples in one sitting. It just wouldn’t happen. But this is a realistic possibility with dried fruit.
For this reason, I’d suggest sticking to the real, non-dried fruits instead.
3) 100% Natural Fruit Juice
Just like dried fruit, it’s easy to think of fruit juice as a healthy food choice.
And in many ways it is – but that doesn’t make it a good option for losing fat.
Basically, fruit juice is nutritionally much like fruit – but with all of the fiber taken out.
Fiber is what slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which helps to avoid spiking your insulin levels too much.
In addition, it’s really easy to gulp down a ton of fruit juice very quickly, and without it really filling you up, which means that you can take in far too much sugar in one sitting.
4) Flavored Water
Water is another one of those things that most of us need to drink more of.
But the problem is that regular water can get a bit boring.
It lacks flavor, which can make it hard to drink enough day in and day out.
Flavored water offers an apparently healthy, yet tasty alternative to regular water.
It’s marketed as being just like water, but with flavor and a bunch of vitamins thrown in for good measure.
The problem is that most flavored water also contains a lot of calories.
So, really, it isn’t like drinking water at all; more like buying craftily marketed soda in disguise.
Unless you get the zero calorie versions, this should be avoided when possible.
5) Tuna Salad
Aside from the mercury content, tuna is a great, healthy choice – especially for packed lunches.
It is affordable, packed full of protein, and low in both fat and carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, dumping in a couple spoonfuls of mayo completely changes this!
When you add a bunch of mayo to tuna, you increase the number of calories significantly, as well as the amount of fat.
To put it in perspective, one tablespoon of mayo contains nearly 100 calories, which is almost half as much as an entire can of tuna!
This makes it very easy to consume many more calories than you might think you’re eating…
So if you’re going to eat tuna salad, opt to limit the amount of mayo you use, or use the low-fat or fat-free version instead.
Fruit smoothies are pretty ubiquitous these day.
They are sold at juice bars, and have all the trappings of something that is good for you to be eating.
However, the problem is that in many cases smoothies are loaded with other things which bump up the calories.
In many smoothies, you’ll find ice cream, sorbet, peanut butter, chocolate, whole milk – not to mention lots of blended fruit, which contain a good number of calories themselves.
As a result, one medium smoothie can easily contain more than 500 calories!
To save on the calories, I’d recommend making your smoothies yourself, using whey protein as a base, and then adding fruits for flavor and ice for volume.
Like nuts, avocados are another common super food that we’re always told we should be eating more of.
They are packed with monounsaturated fats, contain a lot of fiber, and have more potassium than a banana.
Also, they taste great, and are super easy to eat (especially as guacamole).
The problem is that they are primarily comprised of fat, which means that they are incredibly calorie dense.
Yup, just 1 avocado has over 300 calories, and nearly 30 grams of fat!
So while it can be healthy to include these in your diet, you definitely want to eat them in moderation.
8) Granola Bars
Granola in its raw form is pretty healthy.
A high fiber, complex carbohydrate food source that is also highly satiating.
The problem is, not all granola products are equal, and many of the mass market brands are loaded with extra sugars and oil.
As a result, they are considerably higher in calories than regular granola, and much easier to overeat.
In fact, many small granola bars have about 200 calories, and it is incredibly easy to eat more than one (if not half the box) in a single sitting.
9) Trail Mix
When you think of trail mix, you probably think of wholesome activities – like hiking, for instance.
Indeed, trail mix is marketed as an energy-dense snack, packed with wholesome ingredients like nuts and dried fruits.
However, as I already went over before, both nuts and dried fruits contain a deceptively high number of calories.
This means that while trail mix is indeed packed with a ton of energy, this is simply not what most people need.
Energy basically just means calories, so if you’re trying to avoid packing on unwanted pounds, you should probably avoid this one entirely.
10) Coconut Water
This is a new healthy beverage option, which has gotten very popular in recent years.
Coconut water is chock full of potassium, very little sodium, and is very hydrating and refreshing.
However, just as with other flavored water options, you have to remember that coconut water isn’t just water.
It contains calories – roughly 60 in each container – so if you start drinking it as a primary source of hydration, these calories can add up quickly.
It’s fine to have as part of your diet, but don’t get carried away and think that you can chug these down all day long without putting on fat.
Cheese has grown to be considered a healthy snack choice in recent years, mainly as a result of the low-carb diet craze.
And cheese certainly isn’t bad – it tastes great, has calcium, as well as a decent amount of protein.
Unfortunately, like nuts, it suffers from being very high in calories in any given serving.
That’s right, in just 1 oz of cheese, you’ll generally be getting just short of 200 calories – mostly from fat.
12) Glutten-Free Junk Food
Right now, the biggest health food craze is probably gluten free.
If you look in your local supermarket, you are likely to see all sorts of things now being advertised as ‘gluten free’.
Yes, even foods that would never have contained gluten to begin with…
The thing is, just because something is gluten free, doesn’t mean that it is low in calories (or even healthy).
This is a subject for its own article, but suffice to say gluten free doesn’t really mean much in and of itself.
Lots of junk foods now have gluten free versions which are just as bad for you – full of refined carbs, sugars, and chemicals – so don’t be tricked by this new marketing craze and instead look at the label before making any decisions.
Know of any supposedly healthy foods that are deceptively high in calories? Let us know in the comments below.