If you're anything like me, then pizza, french fries and ice cream makes up a sizeable, if not significant, portion of the foods you eat on a regular basis. That is, of course, because they're delicious: but there are plenty of people out there who decide that due to their own health or aspirations of weight loss, they'll bite the bullet by biting into a salad, and go on a diet.
Healthy eating is all well and good, but what happens when you swap out the fast food for the good stuff, and still end up as portly as you were before? Don't give up on that diet just yet: insurance company Budget Direct Health says there are some healthy foods out there that are actually very high in calories.
1. Packaged fruit and nuts mix
If it's four o'clock and you're feeling a little peckish after chowing down on lunch, fruit and nuts are a great snack to help you get through the day. But if you do decide to snack out, be careful of the packaged stuff: just 150g of pre-packaged fruit and nuts contains as much as 700 calories, more than you'll get out of a McDonald's Big Mac. To combat this, make your own fruit and nut mix at home; with 70g of raw walnuts and cashews plus 50g of dried fruit , you can have a snack worth just 405 calories. You've even got space for a 30g sprinkling of dark chocolate chips (70 calories).
"But they're just fruit," I hear you say, and for the most part, fruit is a great way to keep the rumblies at bay while you wait for your dinner. But sultanas are not exactly the healthiest fruit if you want to keep your calories down. Just one 80g serving hits you with 246 calories, and while this isn't bad, there are definitely fruits out there you can eat for significantly fewer calories. Instead, swap out those sultanas for grapes. You can have twice as many for just 110 calories. A no-brainer, if you ask me.
No, not hummus! A delicious dip for many a chip or pitta bread, this Middle Eastern-inspired snack is actually super high in calories. 208 calories is quite a lot for just a 110g serving of the stuff, so you're going to have your work cut out to keep down your calorie intake. So I'm sorry: if you want to continue eating hummus while losing weight, you're going to have to stick to carrot or celery sticks as your primary dipping tools.
4. Canned coconut milk
Great for your heart, your skin and for your digestion, coconut milk is one of those things you really should be getting more of in your diet. That is, of course, unless you're getting it out of a can. There, just a 200ml serving will add as many as 400 calories toward your recommended daily quota. To limit the calorie damage coconut milk can do, try limiting your coconut milk to a couple of splashes in curries or stews. If you mix it into your smoothie, I think you'll find that almond milk is more than suitable as a substitute.
5. Muesli bars
As far as nutritious snacks go, muesli is another one of those foods which aren't exactly unhealthy. But they're packed with sugar, meaning just one bar (45g) has as many as 184 calories. Not bad, but you can do better. For a healthier snack, I suggest you go nuts: 40g of raw nuts has just 160 calories, and there's a lot less sugar to boot.
6. Chia seeds
Chia seeds have picked up a reputation for being a bit of a superfood, and for good reason: they've got plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, and are also a great source of fiber and iron, not to mention calcium. But a 30g serving contains 119 calories, and if you're not careful you could end up ruining the rest of your daily diet when all you're looking for is a quick snack. To combat this, have a go at mixing your chia seeds (just 15g) into an unsweetened yogurt or smoothie. Then, you get all the chia without any excess calories. What's not to like?
7. Rice cakes
Although it's really tempting to think of your average rice cake as being a light, airy snack, just a 100g serving sets you back as many as 392 calories. Who would have thought? As a result, you have to be really careful to limit yourself to just one rice cake a day, making sure to top it with plenty of nutrients instead of Nutella or something. I know it's tempting. But you have to resist.
There you have it, folks - these foods are actually pretty high in calories, once you stop to notice. Of course, the fact that they're high in calories doesn't mean they're not healthy: all it means is that you're going to have to watch your portion control. Eat all of these in moderation, and you'll be well on the way to the diet you deserve.