IF you’re planning to lose weight but just can’t see the scale moving, it’s time to start looking at the little things.
We’re talking about the foods and beverages that are often overlooked but can add a bunch of extra calories to your daily diet.
Finally, the basic idea of calories in and out is important when it comes to weight loss and weight gain.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, one of the things that can contribute to interfering with weight loss is over-eating calories,” says Registered Dietitian Jenna Hope.
“As such, it’s often the hidden calories that are the easiest to overconsume and, once aware of, the easiest to reduce.”
Are you falling victim to one of those hidden calorie counts?
The sugar in your tea or coffee
Always add some sweetness to your brew?
“One sugar equals 5g of sugar, which adds 20 extra calories,” explains Jenna.
“Just 5g of sugar is one sixth of the recommended maximum daily sugar intake.
“While the calories might not sound all that significant, if you add two sugars to two cups of tea or coffee a day, that’s about 80 extra calories per day and 20g of sugar.”
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To cut back on some calories and save, Jenna recommends halving the amount of sugar in your tea or coffee and slowly reducing it until you no longer need it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. So don’t expect to stay cold and stick with it.
Be sure to gradually reduce your sugar so your taste buds get used to the change.
Pour the fruit juice freely
Although there are several benefits to a glass of orange juice, Jenna says the recommended serving size for juices is generally around 150ml, which averages around 70 calories and 15g of sugar (depending on the juice).
“That’s quite significant, even though most people consume well over 150ml per serving and closer to 250ml per serving,” she explains.
“This can significantly increase calorie and sugar intake.”
Stick to a 150ml serving of fruit juice per day – actually measure it – or use juice as an alternative to pumpkin to enhance the flavor of the water.
Spread the salad dressings on top
A spoonful of olive oil is one thing, but how often do you just pour dressings over your lunch salad?
Jenna says that some commercial salad dressings can be particularly high in calories, salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
“A classic Caesar salad dressing can contain about 60 calories per recommended serving,” she notes.
“Furthermore, we often eat far more than the recommended portion sizes.”
She adds, “If you’re trying to lose weight, consider flavoring your salads with lemon juice and vinegar whenever possible.”
The spices for your summer BBQ
“During barbecue season, many of us may fall prey to the spices, which can dramatically increase the energy on the plate,” says Jenna.
In fact, just one serving of mayonnaise can contain 100 calories, and one serving of ketchup and BBQ sauce contains about 15 to 20 calories.
“Chances are you’ll be adding a few squirts to your sausages or burgers this summer, so definitely keep that in mind if you’re trying to lose weight,” she says.
Always order oat milk in your latte macchiato
Oat milk has gained the upper hand as a substitute for dairy products.
But as Jenna points out, it actually has more calories than you might think, and more than other alternatives like almonds and soy.
“Oat milk can contain around 50 calories per 100ml, some barista versions contain a bit more,” she explains.
“A latte can contain about 250ml of milk, which means an oatmilk latte can contain 125 calories that are often not accounted for.”
Try opting for unsweetened almond milk instead, as it’s far lower in calories.
The mixers for your alcoholic beverages
Vodka and cokes, gin and tonics and pre-mixed cocktails…all of these can go in the calorie department.
“The summer season often requires more cocktails and increased consumption of alcoholic beverages,” says Jenna.
“Watch out for added syrups in pre-mixed cocktails.
“Because alcoholic beverages are not required to provide nutritional information, it can be difficult to determine their calorie and sugar content.
“Try to use clear spirits, fresh lime and lemonade, or very dry wine with cocktails and ready-to-drink beverages whenever possible.”
When you’re a notorious snacker, it can be difficult to explain all the “picky” leftovers you eat throughout the day.
But you can still lose weight and achieve your goals even if you graze in the pasture all day long.
“Snacks often get a bad rap, and that’s typically because we think of snacking as foods high in sugar, salt, and fat, like cookies, chips, and candy bars,” explains Jenna.
“However, snacks can be a great way to replenish your micronutrients, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and get you through the rest of the day.
“If you enjoy snacking, make sure you sit down for a specific snack on a regular basis instead of grazing throughout the day.”
She adds, “Also look for snacks that are lower in sugar and higher in protein, which will help stabilize blood sugar levels, increase feelings of fullness and reduce overeating.”
She recommends boiled eggs, rolled oats or raw vegetables with hummus, roasted beans or chickpeas, plain yogurt with fresh berries, or a piece of fruit with a teaspoon of peanut butter.
Preparing these healthier snacks ahead of time and stocking them in the fridge is a great way to ditch sugary snacks and turn to nutrient-dense options instead.
“Additionally, staying hydrated is important if you’re trying to lose weight, since thirst signals can often be misinterpreted as hunger signals, which can lead you to overeat,” says Jenna.