Friday, January 3, 2014

Learn Where Extra Calories Are Sneaking Into Your Diet!

You don’t need to go on a radical diet to lose weight. I encourage people to eat more vegetables, eat only whole grains (i.e: not refined grains), nonfat or low-fat dairy, fresh fruit, and lean sources of protein, and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. However, if that is too overwhelming for you at this point in your life, just cutting out a few things from your diet can have a huge impact. It is estimated that 3,500 fewer calories will cause you to lose 1 pound. So, if you cut out 250 mindless calories each day, you can theoretically lose a pound in 2 weeks. If you consciously change your eating to healthier choices and add on exercise, you will lose weight much quicker. Below are some common food items I see that contribute tons of calories to people’s diets without them even knowing:

·         Oils & Fats
o   1 tbsp of olive oil has 130 calories- so go easy on the oil and add water to help sauté foods
o   1 tbsp of peanut or almond butter has about 100 calories. These are healthy fats but not fantastic sources of protein, so if you are eating nuts you can probably do without nut butters in your diet.
o   1 tbsp of mayo has 100 calories
o   1 tbsp of butter has 100 calories

·         Alcohol
o   5 fl oz of wine has 130 calories- if your serving size is slightly larger than that and you decide to have 2 glasses each night that could be contributing 300 extra calories each day!

·         Juices
o   I always say it is better to eat a fruit than drink the juice. Whole fruit is more filling and you will get more antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber through eating the real thing. 1 cup of fruit juice typically has 100-140 calories… even if it is 100% fruit juice and “no sugar added”, it will still be loaded with sugar and calories.

 ·         Cheese
o   1 oz or 1 slice of cheese, on average, has 100 calories. If you put 2 slices of cheese on your sandwich for lunch, that can be adding 200 calories each day to your diet. Also be conscious of those cheese cubes at cocktail parties- each 1” cube is 100 calories too! Monitor your cheese consumption!

·         Nuts
o   Yes, nuts are very healthy. However, the calories add up quickly. 3 tbsp of peanuts has about 200 calories, and ½ c almonds have about 260 calories. Nuts are definitely a snack you don’t want to just grab handfuls of, because you could be adding hundreds of calories to your diet without even thinking about it.

·         Calorie-dense cereals
o   Many people think granola is a healthy choice for breakfast. While it may contain whole grains and nuts and seeds, it typically contains a lot of added sugar and oils. One cup of granola can easily pack 400-500 calories per cup. Similarly, cereals like muesli or any mixed cereal with dried fruits and nuts will typically be very calorie dense. Always read the label and watch your portion size!

·         Proteins

o   For some reason, many people believe they can eat as much “protein” as they want and it won’t make them gain weight. Extra protein calories will just be converted to fat if not used, so you need to watch your protein intake just as you do carbs. A standard “serving” is 3 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, which contains only 140 calories. However, most people eat larger than 3 oz servings, and the meat will typically be fattier than boneless skinless chicken breast, and/or fat will be added, contributing many more calories, especially in a restaurant setting. Also be conscious of protein powders… if 1 scoop is 100 calories and your body doesn’t need that extra protein, those extra calories will basically just be adding to your waistline ;-)

If you want to be successful at losing weight, the best thing you can do is be aware of the foods and calories you are consuming! If you can decrease the quantity of some of the foods above, you should lose weight (as long as you don't replace those calories with something else...)
Information on Insurance reimbursement for Nutrition Counseling:

INDEPENDENCE BLUE CROSS and AMERIHEALTH Members: Personal Choice, Keystone Health Plan East, AmeriHealth, or Independence Administrators members may receive 6 free nutritional counseling sessions each year with Kelly!
*Note: Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans are not covered & specific IBC plans may not be covered
AETNA Members: Aetna reimbursement depends upon your specific policy. Many plans do offer 100% coverage for up to 10 visits per year!

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