Before you start your next diet, beware: there are certain foods out there that might seem healthy, but are actually packed with calories. Don't end up baffled by any mysterious weight gain after working hard to eat right. Get to know these calorie culprits so you can steer clear of an unwelcome surprise.
If you're eating a handful of nuts instead of chips or salty snacks, you're doing a good job, right? When it comes to cashews, a handful a day can easily become a handful to deal with in a few weeks. Cashews are one of the highest fat- and calorie-containing nuts on the market, weighing in at 553 calories per 100 grams. Opt for these nonpareil almonds instead.
When you were a kid, your mom told you to drink your milk so you'd have strong bones. While that might be true, dairy products like milk, cheese and butter are also some of the highest calorie foods out there, and are often the culprits behind digestive problems and bloating. Solution? Switch to unsweetened almond milk instead.
3. Sweetened Yogurt
Yogurt is another dairy product that people often believe is a healthy choice. While certain yogurts provide your body with healthy, bacteria-fighting probiotics, most sweetened yogurts can spike blood sugar and pack on the pounds over time. Consider taking a probiotic supplement instead.
Made from chickpeas, hummus is a tasty dip, but also one that's super fattening. At 166 calories per 100 grams (and being as addictive as it is), it's a lot more dangerous than you might suspect. Switch out your hummus for a dip like all-natural salsa that has a fifth of the calories.
5. Bran Muffins
Bran muffins seem like a good option for a low-carb snack, right? Well, when looking at the calorie count, bran muffins (depending on the size) are sometimes packed with more calories than a donut. Yikes! Bran is still good for you, so stick to a better bran food like raisin bran cereal.
It's often considered a healthy alternative to pasta, but weighing in at almost the same calorie count as hummus, couscous is not the healthiest option. Toss the couscous aside and stick to what you know is good: quinoa!
7. Instant Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a healthy, filling meal to start your day with. But this isn't as true if you're opting for pre-packaged instant oatmeal. Inside these packets are a ton of sugar and calories which will spike your blood sugar first thing in the morning and certainly lead to weight gain over time. Stick with steel cut oats to be safe.
8. Rice Crackers
Switching out bread for rice crackers seems like a solid plan to lose weight. The only problem? Rice crackers are super high in sodium and contain very few nutrients. Opt instead for organic crackers for a nutrient-packed, light snack.
9. Baked Beans
Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you. . . weigh! Baked beans contain 155 calories per 100 grams and are also packed with sugar, syrup and molasses. Choose natural, organic lentils instead.
It's true: avocados are amazing for your health! But at 322 calories each, they shouldn't be eaten every day—unless you're running a marathon on the regular. Eat an avocado once or twice a week, then stick to a fruit with fewer calories like an apple or banana.
Now that you're in the know, you can capitalize on the health benefits of the above foods without going overboard on your daily calorie count. Or, simply swap them out for foods with natural fat-reducing properties. If you're ever in doubt, remember this: food calorie counts are just a Google search away!