3 “Health Foods” That Can Really Pack on the Pounds

Freelance Photographer - Hannah Millerick

Not all “health foods” are created equal. Some may be less healthy than you think. Or, they may be healthy, but only in small amounts, due to their high calorie load. Here are 3 common health foods that could be derailing your efforts to eat healthy and lose weight:

Smoothies. Fresh fruits and veggies are a cornerstone to a healthy weight loss plan. But too much fruit, fruit juice, or protein can ramp up the calorie count of any smoothie recipe to a whopping 1,500 calories. Use more veggies and leafy greens, and less fruit (as more of a flavor enhancer). You’ll get abundant nutrients with far fewer calories.

Trail mix, granola, and nuts. Whole grains and nuts are rich in nutrients but also fairly high in calories. And some granola mixes have a lot of added oil and sugar, which can dial up the calorie count even more. Many granolas have up to 400 calories per cup. Keep snack portions small, or enjoy as a small meal in combination with lower-calorie foods, such as fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, or low-fat milk.

Soup and salad. Who could fault this well-known combo as anything but healthy? It depends on the ingredients. Soups with lots of cream, butter, or oil are high in fat and calories. And salads topped with croutons, full-fat cheese, processed meats, and high-fat dressings do not make for a healthy or low-calorie meal.

The key is to read your nutrition facts labels and to choose your ingredients and portions carefully when buying or making your own “health foods.”