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The hidden saboteurs of your diet

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Is your meal as healthy as you think it is? That depends on whether it contains the right ingredients and dressings.A salad full of greens is always healthy, although what you put on top could still break the calorie bank.Olive oil is a healthy oil in moderation, but can pack a whopping 120 calories per tablespoon.

Meal

Credits: Winnond

Is your meal as healthy as you think it is? That depends on whether it contains the right ingredients and dressings.

Keeping an eye on calorie consumption is usually a key factor in any weight loss regime. Keeping the calorie count down however, can be a difficult task, even for those who make soups and salads a major part of their meals.

One of the reasons why the pounds aren’t just melting away despite a seemingly healthy diet is the hidden calories hanging out even in healthy foods, or in what seems like innocuous indulgences like coffee. Here are some of the biggest culprits.

Drinks

Calories from drinks are possibly some of the stealthiest consumed throughout the day. Whether it’s that soft drink, packaged fruit juice or coffee, drinks can pack quite the calorie punch in any diet.

Soft drinks are the most obvious of the lot, containing loads of empty calories from their high sugar content and low nutritional value. A 330ml can of soft drinks like Sprite and Coca-Cola averages about 140 calories each.

Commercially packaged fruit juices don’t fare much better, most packing nearly as much as, if not more calories than soft drinks. Juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables, however, are safe for weight loss as long as sugar and additives are not added. Blenders like the Electroux EBR2601 with its ice crush function can help turn any fruit or vegetable into more palatable, healthy smoothies.

Stopping off at coffee chains for your cuppa could take up more of your daily calorie allowance than lunch with the wrong orders. A large mocha with flavoured syrups and whipped cream can contain between 500 to 700 calories and about 20 grams of fat.

The key to enjoying a cuppa without guilt is understanding that the bulk of calories come from what you add in it. A black coffee contains nearly zero calories. If you need a sweeter caffeine fix, order nonfat or skim milk, use brown sugar and skip the whipped cream.

Salads

We know what you’re thinking – how many calories can a salad have?

Salad

Credits: Ian Kahn

A salad full of greens is always healthy, although what you put on top could still break the calorie bank.

Olive Oil

Credits: Idea go

Olive oil is a healthy oil in moderation, but can pack a whopping 120 calories per tablespoon.

With the wrong dressings, the answer is a lot. A tablespoon of mayonnaise contains about 100 calories, while olive oil has 120. Cheeses like feta and parmesan can add 20 to 50 calories to the total. If you’re having salads with bacon or crispy (read: fried) chicken, that ratchets up the calorie and fat count. Top it off with dressings like Ranch or Thousand Island, and you can have salads that weigh in at over 600 calories, more than a fast food burger.

To avoid these extra calories, go for alternative toppings to your salads that provide protein instead of fat, such as tuna, chickpeas and eggs, while laying off the cheese. Instead of fried bacon and chicken, grill the meat in ovens like the Electrolux EOB98000X Steam Combination Oven for a healthier protein topping.

Condiments and spreads

Like salad dressings, condiments and spreads like ketchup and butter can be deadly to a weight loss program. Sauces can be high in fat and energy without being filling at all. A pat of butter adds 36 calories to your toast, while every tablespoon of ketchup that goes with fries is about 15 calories.

If you must consume them, use sparingly, like spreading butter or margarine more thinly on bread, or seek out low fat versions for consumption.

Alcohol

Unwinding with friends after a busy week is usually not complete without some alcohol beverages. But alcoholic drinks are high in calories and sugar, and do tend to  increase your appetite as well. The average glass of wine or beer contains 100 to 150 calories. With a bottle of wine containing about four glasses, splitting a bottle between two easily adds 300 calories to dinner.

A glass of wine – and no more – can be good for health though, so if you must drink, order dry wines as they tend to be lower in calories than their sweet counterparts. For mixed drinks, opt for low-calorie mixers or dilute your drink with club soda to get more volume with less guilt.

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