Are you getting frustrated with a weight-loss plateau, despite eating healthy foods, dieting and exercising? I’m sorry to break it to you, but the fact is, hidden kilojoules are probably making their way into your ‘healthy’ diet without you realising it. Here are 10 common health mistakes you might be making, on your quest to a healthy diet:
Diet mistake 1: Popping your diet bubble
Most people know that popcorn is a better snack than reaching for the chippies, but what you need to remember is that most commercial varieties include added salt, butter and oil, turning this healthy snack into a snacking “don’t”. Popcorn is a whole grain and the best way to eat it is air-popped.
1 cup of air-popped popcorn is 117kj with one small tub (36g) of movie popcorn with butter and salt coming in at 707kj.
Diet mistake 2: Jazzing up your salad
Are you eating salad for lunch every day but not losing any weight? Does your salad also include cheese, croutons, and oily salad dressing? Opt for a lighter salad of greens and vegetables without all of the extras. Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavour without the calories, or a small dose of tofu or lean meat will give you the added protein to keep you fuller. A simple summer salad without the extras can come in at less than 210kj, whereas a large Sumo salad packs a punch of more than 2100kj.
Diet mistake 3: Munching back the muesli
While muesli is full of healthy whole grains and fruit, most people often end up eating twice the serving size. Some commercially made mueslis have a lot of sugar and fat added, particularly the toasted kind, so make your own at home using your favourite ingredients.
A 45g serving of natural muesli is around 630kj, but toasted muesli can bring the kilojoule count up over 1050.
Diet mistake 4: Soupy sides
A simple vegetable or chicken soup can tame a killer appetite, but don’t eat it with lashings of toast and butter, sour cream, or noodles. Also avoid cream-based soups, such as cream of mushroom and chowders.
On average a good vegetable soup gives you around 630kj per 100g serve, but add in sour cream at 437kj a tablespoon, parmesan cheese at 144kj a tablespoon, plus bread (around 399kj per slice) and you have more kilojoules in the extras than you do in the soup!
Diet mistake 5: Fruity cakes don’t count as fruit
Although fruit is a low-kilojoule snack, fruit cakes and muffins are not. You might think you’re opting for the healthier option but fruit cakes still have all the sugar and butter of normal cakes.
One piece of banana bread means you are having a 1453kj morning tea. Eat a banana instead – it will only set you back 840kj and add essential nutrients.
Diet mistake 6: Dried fruit can be deceiving
There are just as many kiloujoules in one sultana as there is in one grape, but the difference is how much you will eat. Without the natural water in the fresh fruit, dried fruit is slower to fill you up so you end up eating much more.
It’s easy to eat ¼ cup of sultanas adding 630 kj to your day, but you will feel a lot more satisfied eating one cup of green grapes worth 336kj.
Diet mistake 7: Smoothie setback
No, we’re not saying your homemade smoothie is unhealthy, but most commercially made smoothies also contain frozen yoghurt or ice cream and lots of fruit juice with a little bit of frozen fruit thrown in for effect. So make sure you check what is going into the smoothie before you order.
With one medium low-fat strawberry smoothie you could suck up 1050kj. Or you could whiz up a dairy-free frappe at home using frozen fruit, setting you back less than 420kj.
Diet mistake 8: Sneaky sushi
Sushi rolls are really just rice with a little bit of filling. Sushi rice is processed white rice that is basically nothing but carbs with a little bit of protein. Add in chicken schnitzel or a crumbed prawn and you are looking at some serious kilojoules. Instead, buy the baby sushi packs with vegetables or fresh fish.
One teriyaki chicken roll contains 869kj while a fresh avocado roll is around 588kj.
Diet mistake 9: Is it really food?
A good rule is ‘if it takes a lab to create it, it takes a lab to digest it’. Highly processed foods are low in nutrients making them nothing but empty kj that won’t even fill you up and your body may struggle to absorb any good nutrients out of it.
A 25g serving of rice crackers will give you 424kj but there is only 105kj in the equivalent weight of brown rice, which is also rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. The rest of the cracker is salt, sugars, oil and a whole lot of carbohydrates.
Diet mistake 10: Which sandwich?
Ham and salad sandwiches are a lunch time staple. But often the goodness doesn’t stop with those simple ingredients. Add on mayonnaise, sundried tomatoes in oil, cheese, and thick slices of bread and you are getting way up in the kj stratosphere. Keep your sandwiches clean and fresh with lots of salad and a little bit of meat on wholemeal bread. Using avocado or hummus instead of butter to add flavour will reduce kj.
Two slices of wholemeal bread alone come in at around 579kj. Add one tablespoon of butter (621kj), a slice of cheese (344 kj), slice of tomato (76kj), slice of ham (126kj), and mayonnaise (621kj) and you have a meal worth 2369kj! Try a salad sandwich with avocado and no butter instead.
Remember that you need to count ALL the food you eat in a day if you are trying to lose weight. Eating a couple of chips off someone else’s plate counts! Also, keep your eye on serving sizes and watch all of the unnecessary extras that are often piled on top of healthy food. Enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables and move your body to keep yourself looking and feeling great.
* 4.2kj equals one calorie if you are being old-school about it.