Breaking the Bad: Hidden Calories in Places You Least Expect Them

Mar 27, 2023

You know what calories are, right? Simplistically speaking, they’re like the energy points we get from the food we eat. But did you know, hidden calories in common foods and drinks that you think are healthy for you, could be responsible for you consuming more calories than you need? Our body needs them to do […]

You know what calories are, right? Simplistically speaking, they’re like the energy points we get from the food we eat. But did you know, hidden calories in common foods and drinks that you think are healthy for you, could be responsible for you consuming more calories than you need?

Our body needs them to do all kinds of cool things, like playing soccer, climbing trees, or even just thinking really hard. But sometimes, we end up eating more calories than we need, and that can lead to some not-so-fun stuff, like feeling sluggish or gaining extra weight.

In this edition of “Breaking the Bad” series of articles, we’re sharing some surprising sources of hidden excess calories that might be sneaking into your food and drinks. Especially snacks and those healthy foods we think are good for us.

Let’s dive in and learn more about those sneaky calories!

Smoothies and Fruit Juices

hidden calories - fruit juice

Smoothies and fruit juices sure taste delicious, and they’re made of fruits, so they must be healthy, right? Well, not always. Some smoothies and fruit juices can have a lot of hidden calories. Sometimes, they’re loaded with extra sugar, and other times, they’re just packaged in a really big bottle. Remember, even natural sugars from the fruit have calorie content. It’s better to eat whole fruits instead of drinking them, so you get all the good stuff like fibre that can help you feel full and satisfied.

“Healthy” Snack Bars

hidden calories - snack bars

You know those snack bars that look super healthy and have words like “energy” and “protein” on the label? Well, guess what? Some of them have more calories than a chocolate bar! They can be packed with sugar, fat, and all sorts of other things that add calories. Instead of grabbing one of those, try snacking on some nuts, a piece of fruit, or even a few whole-grain crackers with cheese.

Salad Dressings and Condiments

hidden calories - salad dressing

Oh, salad! It’s like the superhero of healthy foods, right? Well, sometimes, even superheroes have a weakness. For salads, it’s usually the dressing. Some salad dressings have a ton of calories, especially creamy ones like ranch or Caesar. The same goes for other condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup.

To keep your salad super healthy, try using a lighter dressing like balsamic vinaigrette, or even just a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. And remember, a little bit goes a long way!

Flavoured Yogurts

hidden calories - flavoured yoghurt

Yogurt can be a fantastic snack, but not all yogurts are created equal. Some flavoured yogurts have lots of added sugar, which means more calories. Instead of picking up that super sweet strawberry yogurt, try getting some plain yogurt and adding your own fresh fruit. It’ll be just as tasty and much better for you!

Restaurant Meals

hidden calories - restaurant food

Eating out can be a fun treat, but sometimes the meals at restaurants have way more calories than you’d expect. For example, grilled chicken salad might sound healthy, but if it’s covered in cheese and croutons, those calories can add up quickly.

To make sure you’re not eating too many calories when you’re dining out, try asking for sauces and dressings on the side.

Or perhaps look at managing the portion sizes by sharing your meal with a friend.

Nuts and Dried Fruits

hidden calories - dried fruit

Now, I know I mentioned nuts earlier as a good snack, but it’s important to remember that they’re pretty high in calories. They’re still a great choice, but make sure you don’t go nuts eating them (pun intended)! A small handful is usually enough. The same goes for dried fruits. They can be a yummy, sweet treat, but they’re much higher in calories than fresh fruit, so enjoy them in moderation.

Coffee and Tea Drinks

hidden calories - coffee

I bet you’ve seen your parents or older siblings order those fancy coffee and tea drinks from cafes, right? Well, those drinks can be packed with hidden calories. Some of them have loads of sugar, cream, and even whipped cream on top! If you want a warm drink, try sticking to regular coffee or tea with just a little bit of milk and sweetener. That way, you can still enjoy a tasty drink without all the extra calories.

“Baked” or “Veggie” Chips

hidden calories - baked chips

When we think of chips, we usually think of the greasy, salty kind that you can’t stop eating once you start. So, it’s easy to assume that “baked” or “veggie” chips are a healthier choice, but they can still be sneaky with calories. Some of them have added sugars, fats, and even lots of salt, which can make them just as high in calories as regular chips. If you’re craving something crunchy, try munching on raw veggies or even some air-popped popcorn instead.

Granola and Cereals

hidden calories - granola

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but some of the foods we eat for breakfast can be full of hidden calories. Granola and cereals might look healthy because they’re made from grains, but sometimes they have added sugars, oils, and even chocolate chips. To make sure your breakfast isn’t secretly full of calories, try choosing a cereal with less sugar, like whole-grain flakes, and add some fresh fruit for natural sweetness.

Sports Drinks and Soft Drinks

hidden calories - sports drinks

When you’re thirsty, reaching for a colourful sports drink or a fizzy soft drink might be tempting.

But those drinks can be loaded with sugar and liquid calories. Even the ones that say “low-calorie” or “sugar-free” can still have hidden calories.

Instead, try drinking water or even flavoured water with a splash of lemon or lime. It’s the best way to stay hydrated and avoid those sneaky calories! Better yet, look for low-calorie fizzy options, like SORTED’s prebiotic soft drink, which only has less than 20 Calories.

Conclusion

And that’s it, my friend! Now you know about some surprising sources of hidden calories in the foods and drinks we eat daily.

Remember, it’s not about avoiding all these foods and drinks completely; it’s about being aware of the calories they have and making smarter choices. Think portion control instead of complete denial. What works for one person may not be the same for another. Afterall, we’re all built differently and have different daily calorie intake needs according to our size, life stage (e.g. pregnant women need more), our activity levels etc.

So the next time you’re reaching for a snack or a meal, think about those sneaky calories and make a choice that’s better for your body.

If you’re trying to watch your weight for health reasons, these tips will help you achieve a healthy weight sooner than you think. Happy eating!

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