More Calories Than You'd Think, But Not That Bad
Whole-grain bread - 1 large slice has 109 calories, about 30 more calories than you find in white bread. But with 3 grams of fiber per slice, compared with white bread's 0.8, it's still the healthier choice.
Hummus - At 25 calories per tablespoon, it's on par with guacamole.
Brown rice - 3/4 cup cooked of the long-grain variety has 186 calories, more than the same amount of long-grain white rice (154 calories). It's got almost 2 more grams of fiber, though, so brown rice will keep you fuller longer.
Flavored Yogurt - There are 193 calories in one 8-ounce container of low-fat vanilla yogurt. Choose non-flavored but tangy Greek yogurt to cut down (one container has 100 calories).
Quinoa - One cooked cup has 222 calories, but it's also a great plant source of protein, with more than 8 grams in a cup.
Corn - As vegetables go, corn is high-cal. One boiled cup of the sweet yellow variety has 143 calories (for comparison, the same amount of Brussels sprouts has 56 calories, and a small baked white potato has 130).
Just Don't Go Overboard on These
Peanut butter alternatives - Their fat content varies, but they definitely don't save you any calories. Cashew, almond and sunflower-seed varieties are generally just as calorie-rich as the original, with 97, 98 and 99 calories per tablespoon, respectively, compared with smooth peanut butter's 96 per tablespoon.
Dark chocolate - One ounce of dark chocolate with 75 - 80 percent cacao solids has 170 calories, roughly the same amount found in ¾ of a regular candy bar. But dark chocolate is still the better choice for a treat -- research shows that the flavanols it contains can benefit your health.
Macadamia nuts - When it comes to pure calories, macadamias top all other nuts, with 204 calories per ounce (dry roasted). Pecans are virtually the same, with 201 per dry-roasted ounce. The same amount of pistachios has 40 fewer calories.
Homemade salad dressing - It's lower in sugar than the store-bought stuff, but if you're using olive oil as a base, its more calorie-packed, as olive oil has 119 calories per tablespoon. (For comparison, the average store-bought Caesar dressing, one of the most calorie-dense dressings, has about 80 calories per tablespoon). Dress your greens lightly.
Proceed With Caution
Homemade granola - 597 calories per cup. You can control the sugar content to help bring the calorie count down. Skip the brown sugar and add spices like cinnamon or cardamom, or pumpkin seeds, to add flavor. Try using sugar-free maple syrup too -- the sugar in the regular kind is natural (instead of the dreaded added variety), but at about 12 grams per tablespoon, there's still a lot of it.
Coconut milk - 1 cup of the full-fat, canned kind used most commonly for cooking, not drinking, has 445 calories. That's only slightly less than sour cream, which packs 455 calories per cup.
Dried fruits - You probably know that these are high in sugar, but if you've never considered what that does to their calorie count, take a look at how they stack up against their un-dried counterparts.
- Dried apples – 209 calories in 1 cup, compared with 57 calories in 1 cup of raw slices
- Dried apricots – 313 calories in 1 cup, versus 74 calories in 1 cup of raw halves
- Dried mangos – 319 calories per 100 grams. One cup of raw mango pieces (1ngly Hig65 grams) has 99 calories
- Dried figs – 371 calories in 1 cup. One large raw fig has 47 calories
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