3 Surprising Foods That Pack on Pounds

If you consider yourself a healthy eater, you just may be surprised to learn the shocking foods that could make you gain weight!

1. Fruit-flavored yogurt

Some brands of this stuff can be packed with about 25 grams of added sugar and an extra 100 calories. Instead, choose plain, nonfat yogurt and add a few slices of fresh strawberries or a handful of fresh blueberries. Yes, a little more time and money but a lot healthier!

2. Breakfast cereal (even the allegedly healthy kind)

If you’re guilty of eating cereal straight from the box, stop. Even lower-calorie, high-fiber cereals can add up in calorie count when eaten by the non-portion-controlling handful. Instead, only eat cereal with your liquid of choice (coconut milk, skim milk, almond milk). Not only will it fill you up faster but you’ll be forced to create the correct portion size. Also – check out how much cereal you’re actually pouring in the bowl. Until you get used to what a normal size is (about 2/3 a cup) use a measuring cup–you’ll be surprised at how much less it is than your traditional over-pours.

3. Sushi

Well, really just sushi with white rice. If you must have a “roll” opt for one with brown rice. According to our fave site Fit Sugar:

“White rice is what’s inside brown rice after the brown rice is polished down, removing the bran and the beneficial nutrients. Nutrients removed in the milling process include 67 percent of the vitamin B3, 80 percent of B1 vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin B6, half the maganese and phosphorus, 60 percent of the iron, and all of the fiber and essential fatty acids. That’s why white rice comes “enriched” with B vitamins and iron.” Rice in either shade still has calories, so for the ultimate healthy choice, ask for your roll to be wrapped in cucumber, without the rice!


Photo Courtesy: by El Ronzo

6 EZ (and tasty) Food Swaps!

Classic Calorie Counter from Ralphs from flickr

Looking for some easy -and tasty- food swaps to increase the nutritional value of your next meal -and decrease the calories and fat? Check out these 6 tips from Dawn Jackson Blatner, Registered Dietitian and author of “The Flexitarian Diet”” For all 12 tips click here.

1. Breadcrumbs To Seeds Opt for sesame seeds, chopped pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of breadcrumbs to coat chicken and fish.
Why? Get the crunch you crave but with more healthy fat, fiber and protein.

2. Brown Rice to Cauliflower Rice Pulse fresh cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice. Steam or sauté it and enjoy it how you would use brown rice.
Why? Cauliflower rice has only 30 calories per half-cup vs. brown rice’s 110 calories. Plus the cauliflower version has 50 percent more fiber.

3. Spaghetti Noodles To Zucchini Ribbons Using a vegetable peeler to make zucchini resemble spaghetti strands.
Why? A cup of zucchini pasta has one-sixth the calories of cooked whole grain pasta (28 versus 174 calories per cup) and meets half your day’s vitamin C 4. requirement.

4. Romaine To Kale Chop kale into small one to two inch pieces and massage in a healthy salad dressing (using your hands). The chopping and hand massage tenderize the raw kale and make it a great salad base.
Why? Kale provides more vitamin A, C, E, K and iron than romaine.

5. Butter To Avocado When you are baking, substitute some or all of the butter with pureed avocado. It may tint your baked goods a subtle green color, but it won’t impact the flavor. Note: Start out swapping only 1/3 of the butter and increase gradually until over time you find the perfect swap amount for your recipe.
Why? One tablespoon of avocado puree has 75 percent fewer calories than butter (23 vs. 100 calories) and contains healthier fat, fiber, folate (B vitamin), vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium.

6. High-Fiber Cold Cereal To Oatmeal  Instead of pouring a bowl of cold cereal, make half a cup of rolled oats with one cup of water (or your favorite milk) in the microwave for two to three minutes. Or consider making a big batch of steel-cut oats in the crockpot & freeze it in individual portions.
Why? Even though the healthy cold cereal you eat may be high in fiber, it is “dry” and contains only 2 percent water whereas a bowl of oatmeal is a whopping 84 percent water. What does this mean? More water = more fullness and appetite control through the morning and even into the afternoon.

Hungry Girl’s Pancake Swap

Although we aren’t regulars at IHOP, our favorite fat fighter Hungry Girl clued us in to the high-calorie facts of the chains Cinn-A-Stack pancakes. At over 800 calories and 2,000,g of sodium we’ll be staying away.

Serving Size: 1 stack (no sides)
Calories: 890
Fat: 29g
Sodium: 2,260mg
Carbs: 138g
Fiber: 6g
Sugars: 58g
Protein: 19g

Looking for a better option? Try the Hungry Girl pancake swap. At more than half the calories of the IHOP original, it’s worth making at home.

Half a 60-calorie sugar-free vanilla pudding snack (like the kind by Jell-O)
2 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda orTruvia)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Pancakes and Topping
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda orTruvia)
Dash salt
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute 
(like Egg Beaters Original)
2 tbsp. fat-free or low-fat buttermilk
2 tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-wip

To make the filling, spoon half of the pudding snack — about 3 tbsp. — into a small microwave-safe bowl. (Save the rest for another time.) Add syrup and cinnamon and mix well. Set aside.

In another small microwave-safe bowl, combine icing ingredients and gently stir. Microwave for 15 seconds, and then mix until smooth. Set aside.

To make the pancake batter, combine flour, baking powder, sweetener, and salt in a medium bowl. Add egg substitute, buttermilk, and 1/3 cup water. Mix until smooth and set aside.

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add 1/3rd of the batter to form a pancake. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until pancake begins to bubble and is solid enough to flip. Gently flip and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Plate your pancake and set aside.

Repeat with remaining batter to make a 2nd and 3rd pancake, removing skillet from heat and re-spraying between repetitions. Plate and set aside.

Microwave filling until warm, about 25 seconds. Evenly spread filling onto the top of each pancake, and then layer pancakes into a stack.

Microwave icing until hot, about 25 seconds. Mix well and drizzle over the stack. Top with Reddi-wip and enjoy!


Serving Size: 1 stack (entire recipe)
Calories: 345
Fat: 2.5g
Sodium: 823mg
Carbs: 63g
Fiber: 7.5g
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 20.5g