No matter where you are right now, you can probably list several different foods that are labeled as “healthy”. You can probably also mention several others that are not great options when you are trying to maintain a healthy diet. Whilst you might know the difference between the healthy and not-so-healthy food options, are you eating too much of a good thing? The answer might surprise you.
Portion Is Everything
Food labels provide lots of good information about what you are consuming. One of the most important things listed on the food label is the portion size, which is a requirement on almost every food item you purchase. This is helpful because it provides a guide to ensure you are not over-eating foods which are generally considered to be healthy, but may contain deceptively high levels of fat. Following these portion sizes ensures that you are not inadvertently undoing any of the hard work that you have been doing to live a healthy lifestyle.
While most of us have great control over how many “sometimes” foods we eat, that same control is not exercised when eating foods we perceive to be healthy. Although we are often conscious of our portions of unhealthy foods, we often neglect to take notice of the portion sizes of foods that we believe are healthy. Many people are not aware that it is possible to over-eat healthy foods. However, failing to recognise this can lead to some of the same problems that occur with unhealthy eating – weight gain, difficulty in losing weight, and high cholesterol, to name a few.
The Biggest Culprits
There are some healthy foods that actually taste good, and many people are guilty of overeating these foods on a regular basis. However, there are some tricks that can help you enjoy these healthy foods, without worrying about consuming too much of them.
Muesli is one of the healthiest options for getting your day started, but it is also one that is over-eaten quite regularly. The problem is that muesli is very high in energy and is also very dense, which means you need to consume less muesli than you do other types of cereal to obtain the same amount of energy. It is best to choose untoasted muesli with no added sugar. Or, better yet, opt for plain oats.
Cheese is rich in calcium, protein, vitamins, minerals and fats. However, most people consume at least twice the recommended serving size of cheese, particularly if eating shredded or cubed cheese. One serve of cheese is only 20g! A wise option when selecting cheese is to pick a fat-reduced variety.
Like cheese, nuts provide plenty of nutrients and protein, but they also have a high fat content. Although they are tasty, it is important to not consume too many nuts due to their high fat content. Try using nuts as a salad topper, or add some to your favorite stir-fry to make sure you consume appropriate quantities. One serve of nuts is 30g, which equates to approximately one small handful.
There is no denying that many people love to go green – especially when it comes to avocados. This super food is packed healthy vitamins, but again, it has a high fat content. It is still a great food to include in your daily diet, but if you are struggling to lose weight, perhaps consider the amount of avocado you are consuming and cut back if necessary.
Healthy foods are great alternatives to sugary and salty snacks. It is important though to make sure that you are aware of the recommended serving sizes, and use these to guide your portion size to ensure that you are not adding unnecessary kilojoules.
If you have questions about healthy eating or nutrition and weight loss, contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a dietitian. We can provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!