Hidden Calories in Food and Drinks


Hidden calories in food and drinks may come from a number of sources. You can cut your meal’s calorie count dramatically.

It is quite usual for many of us to experience guilt for indulging in high-calorie food at a friend’s birthday bash or weekend get-together. We might want to nullify the effects of our party munching by resisting takeaway food and delightfully consuming self-prepared soups, salads, and juices for the rest of the month. But how many of you are really aware that foods prepared in your kitchen might also prove harmful to your health?

On my last visit to a friend who had recently undergone revision weight loss surgery in Tijuana, Mexico, I was curious to know what necessitated her second surgical attempt at combating obesity.

After all, having traveled to Mexico for gastric sleeve once, she must be carefully watching everything she eats now, I thought. We discussed on her failed attempts at controlling flab from piling on following her previous bariatric surgery, and focused on the importance of keeping a tab on the calories we tend to ignore while relishing home-cooked meals.

Here is what I can share with you from our conversation regarding what comes out of our kitchen and goes straight onto our waist and finding ways to dodge the calories concealed in our favorite dish.

How healthy is your breakfast?

While cereals might seem to be the recommended option for a vigorous start to the day, not knowing how to have them might spoil your efforts at maintaining a healthy eating pattern or losing weight. Just don’t get tempted by the numerous flavors available in your grocery store to add diversity in taste; instead enrich your regular no-sugar version by loading your bowl with fruits or dry fruits.  One cup of regular corn flakes has 101 calories, whereas a cup of frosted corn flakes contains 147 calories.

Pouring milk on your regular cereal bowl would again add up to your calorie ingestion. If milk is so hard to resist, then choose skimmed or fat-free over regular milk.  An 8 ounce cup of whole milk contains 150 cal, while skimmed milk contains 80 calories.

Whole-wheat bread toasts seem to be a healthy option, provided you spread reduced-fat butter sparingly on them. A tablespoon of regular butter contains 101 calories, while reduced-fat butter has 60 calories.

Fruit juices might seem to be the perfect addition to a healthy breakfast. According to The Telegraph, Dr Hans-Peter Kubis of Bangor University in North Wales, who was part of a research in the UK, said, “The problem is people often substitute them for real fruit which is a mistake. Fruit juice is higher in sugars than people realize and they are likely to encourage drinking too much sugar.”

It is wiser to substitute your juice with a whole fruit such as a medium apple or orange. An 8 ounce glass of orange or apple juice has 120 calories, while an orange has 60 calories and an apple has 72 calories.

Is your lunch or dinner plate nutrient dense or just fat rich?

A sumptuous salad had during the day is expected to fulfill your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals while being low in fats. On the contrary, it may also trigger a rise in your body mass index (BMI) if you neglect the quantity and type of garnishes and dressings that lend flavor to your nutritious plate.

  • Mayonnaise and soybean oil salad dressing has 100 calories in 1 tablespoon.
  • Blue cheese dressing has 76 calories.
  • Sesame seed dressing has 66.5 calories.

If you are using the above dressings (or similar), you can switch to low-calorie ones which make your salad healthier, while also augmenting its taste.

  • Vinaigrette salad dressing has 25 calories in 1 tablespoon.
  • Fat-free mayonnaise dressing has 12 calories.
  • Low-calorie blue cheese dressing has 15 calories.

While making sandwiches you can substitute high-calorie ingredients with equally tasty low-calories ones. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the fat in certain foods adds up rapidly:

  • The USDA states that a cheese-and-bologna sandwich made with 2 slices of bread, 2 slices of cheese, and 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise counts up to about 36 grams of fat. A healthier sandwich would be one made with lean beef, lettuce, tomato, and low-fat mayonnaise. Served with a cup of non-fat milk in lieu of cheese, it has only about 6 grams of fat.
  • Low-sodium cottage cheese which is packed with vitamins and minerals but low in calories (about 206 in one cup), can also be an alternative to lean beef in your sandwich.

Can’t resist caffeine and colas?

While caffeine might help keep you awake and stimulated for the kind of work that you have to tackle in office or home, it definitely takes a toll on your health.

That morning cup of coffee right after you arrive in office and that cola to quench your thirst in the afternoon can be substituted with green tea and lime water, which would miraculously keep you nourished and refreshed throughout the day. A medium cappuccino has 151 calories, medium mocha coffee has 394 calories, and a medium latte contains 135 calories. A cup of green tea without sugar has zero calories.

Are you snacking between meals?

You might feel that snacking in-between meals is alright as long as you avoid chips, cookies, and candies and replace them with carrot, radish, and cucumber sticks. However, do you keep track of amount of dips you consume along with your veggie sticks?

Dips contain mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, or tahini, which are again loaded with fats. One tablespoon of tahini used in hummus, a popular dip, has 95 calories. Vegetable sticks should taste fine without the accompanying ever-fattening dips if sprinkled with pepper, thyme, and rosemary.

Healthy tips

  1. Maintain a diet chart and make smart food choices, such as having one baked potato (120 calories) instead of French fries (225 calories) and yogurts (half-container or 4 ounces has 70 calories ) in place of puddings (chocolate and bread puddings have 157 and 306 calories respectively).
  2. Check food packets for ingredient and nutrient labels to learn about the types and amount of fats present in them.
  3. Sitting 8 hours a day in our office desk, eating while watching a game or daily soap, taking the lift rather than climbing the stairs are all contributors to our size and increased threats of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart ailments. When it comes to ensuring a healthy appearance and lifestyle, a proper diet coupled with daily workouts are inevitable.

A strong will-power goes a long way in welcoming healthy dietary and lifestyle preferences that help attain your health goals.


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