6 Ways Size Matters (For Your Food)

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that just because a food is healthy, you can eat as much of it as you want.

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It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that just because a food is healthy, you can eat as much of it as you want. Here are 6 common healthy eating mistakes:

1. Eating massive amounts of trail mix with abandon

There’s a reason why it’s called trail mix: it was intended as a portable food for people to eat while hiking—that is, people burning hundreds of extra calories per day. Most mixes have about 150 calories per ounce. Measure out an ounce. It’s small, isn’t it? It probably won’t satisfy your hunger.

Hungry? Have a 300-450 calorie meal, not a tiny handful of nuts, seeds, and raisins. If you just need a little pick-me-up, measure out an ounce or so of mix and feel free to have it as a healthy snack.

2. Eating tiny low-fat snacks packed with sugar

Yogurt, this means you! Most low-fat yogurts are milk and sugar. Without the fat and fiber to buffer a sugar spike this could send you on a blood sugar spiral. Plus, the size of the containers is laughably small 113 grams or 4 ounces for a typical Activia, which is a quarter of a soda can—hardly satisfying.

Hungry? Get some unsweetened low-fat yogurt like Fage Greek yogurt and toss in berries to increase the bulk of the snack. This is a snack not a meal—100-150 calories.

3. Eating vegetable chips without weighing them

“A full serving of vegetables in every ounce,” proclaims the Terra chips website. However, an ounce also has 140 calories and 8 grams of fat. An ounce of broccoli has 10 calories, 0 fat, and 1 gram of fiber. Veggie chips are more nutritious than typical potato chips, but not by much. Enjoy in moderation as a small snack—a really small snack.

Hungry? Have a turkey sandwich with some veggies on the side and 1 serving of chips for crunch.

4. Thinking popcorn is free

Popcorn is a whole grain and it is good for you, in moderation. A bag of 94% fat free Pop Secret is 240 calories. So if you want to dive in go ahead, but still calculate the calories and any extras you top it with. There’s a reason why you don’t eat celery with wild abandon, it doesn’t have the calorie appeal of popcorn.

Hungry? Popcorn will not fill you up. Eat half the bag as a snack a few hours after a reasonable meal.

5. Eating too much fruit

Yes, fruit–especially in the form of smoothies with yogurt and bananas and peanut butter. Sure these are all healthy items, but they also add up. A smoothie can set you back 300-plus calories, depending on what you throw in, which is fine for a breakfast on the run, but not a snack. For example, you probably want to avoid the Peanut Butter Moo’d at Jamba Juice, which is a whopping 770 calories.

Hungry? Again, have a real meal if you are hungry. Liquid foods are not all that filling. For a snack have a small smoothie: 1 banana (100 calories) blended with some skim milk (80 calories) is healthy, and fun to sip.

6. Having a huge bowl of cereal as dessert

It has more fiber and vitamins than ice cream but will cereal really satisfy you? While Kashi Go Lean is a good dessert, at about 200 calories with ½ cup of skim milk, 150 calories will get you ½ cup of Breyer’s Cookies & Cream ice cream. And now that you know that, maybe you want some ice cream instead of popcorn, too! After all, sugar can be part of your weight-loss diet.

Hungry? If it’s late and you’ve got a tummy rumble, then go for the cereal. It is still a healthy snack or light meal.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest