WATCH THE EXTRAS!!

If you want to eat balanced and healthy, wouldn't you think it's important to know

what is actually IN what you're eating?  It may be surprising to learn that most people don't know what is in what they eat!!

Many popular foods and beverages have what we call "hidden calories" - ingredients that add extra calories to foods to make them more "calorie dense."   The problem with eating calorie dense foods is that it is really easy to get more calories than you need in a day, and that can lead to unwanted weight gain.

Many of the sources of HIDDEN CALORIES come from sugars and fats in foods.

For example, did you know:

  • ...there are 10 teaspoons of sugar (40 grams) in a can of soda pop?! All of the 150 calories in that can of pop come from sugar!  INSTEAD: Try flavored seltzer or sparkling water, with all the goodness of water, plus bubbles, but NO sugar!
  • ...an 8 ounce cup of juice has about 7 teaspoons of sugar?!  Although there are nutrients in juice that make it more valuable than pop or other fruit flavored drinks, the calories can really add up!  One cup of juice equals 2-3 pieces of fruit!  INSTEAD: Eat the fruit! You'll get all the fiber and nutrients found in fruit, and it will fill you up and satisfy you more!  Or, if you want a thirst-quenching drink, try adding a small amount of juice to sparkling water and you'll get less sugar with more flavor.
  • ...there are 3 teaspoons of fat (15 grams) in a small serving of fries?!  Potatoes are a healthy choice, but, not with all that fat!  INSTEAD: Try slicing white or sweet potatoes & baking until crispy: (NO FAT) or have a baked potato with 1 packet sour cream or 1 oz. lowfat cheese: (only 1 TEASPOON of FAT) and enjoy the flavors!
  • ...there are 10 grams of fat (2 teaspoons) and 90 calories in a small packet of mayonnaise?! INSTEAD: Switch to mustard, which has NO FAT, or light mayo: HALF the fat and calories & ALL the flavor!!
  • ...there are about 200 calories and 20 grams of fat (4teaspoons) in one tiny packet of regular salad dressings?! INSTEAD: Switch to a reduced fat or nonfat dressing and you can reduce the calories and fat by at least half

REMEMBER: How often and how much you eat - even calorie dense foods - still matters most.  Eating calorie dense foods regularly means you will need to eat less, and exercise more, to manage your weight and health.   

BE ON THE LOOKOUT:  CHECK LABELS FOR FAT AND SUGAR AND WATCH FOR THE HIDDEN CALORIES IN THE FOODS YOU CHOOSE!!

Written by Mary Jo Parker, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Consultant to Personal Touch Food Services, Inc.