Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it’s not fattening. In fact, some of the most nutritious foods come with serious calorie counts—with good reason. Considering calories are “energy,” it makes sense that a lot of “natural foods” or “health foods” would be high in energy; After all, animals that eat them can be quickly and efficiently nourished. But since we’re not squirrels storing nuts for winter—or even for a rainy day—you’ll want to watch your intake of the following nutritious foods, unless, that is, you are intending to gain weight.
1. Nuts and seeds
High in protein, “good” fats, and, in many cases, antioxidants, nuts are a spectacular addition to any diet, provided you don’t eat too many. After all, ½ cup of almonds is about 410 calories, while the same amount of macadamia nuts is closer to 470 calories.
2. Dried fruit
Many dried fruits are dusted with sugar, which only escalates the already-impressive amount of calories in these dehydrated delicacies. But even with no additives, a cup of mixed dried fruits totals up to around 335 calories, while ¼ cup of dried raisins is 108 calories!
Even if they’re loaded with the freshest ingredients, you could be gulping down lots of extra calories with every smoothie—especially if you’re not making it yourself. For example, a “power” Strawberry Surf Rider smoothie from Jamba Juice is 580 calories!
Averaging 275 calories in a medium-size fruit, avocados are 75 percent fat, albeit the “good” fat. They are also packed with nutrients. But that doesn’t stop them from adding a layer to your thighs if you devour them unabashedly in the form of guacamole (which combines avocados, tomato, onion, lime juice, and seasonings)—or solo, for that matter.
5. Salad with dressing
It’s not the lettuce that’s the threat. It’s the dressing. And we’re not even talking creamy dressing! Oil-based culprits are as much of a threat as any salad dressing, considering a single tablespoon of olive oil has 119 calories. The good news is you can use less dressing or go for more vinegar or lemon juice and less oil when you prepare your own salads—or skip the dressing altogether!
Thanks to the sugar, oil, nuts, and other tasty ingredients often found in granola, this delicious breakfast favorite can average around 500 calories per cup—and that’s before you add milk or yogurt! For this reason, it’s wise to use it as more of a topping than a base for your next meal.
7. Peanut butter
As a fantastic low-cholesterol kid-friendly source of protein—and a darned tasty one at that—peanut butter is a staple in most cabinets and can certainly be considered a contributor to a healthy diet. But with nearly 100 calories per tablespoon, it’s one that should be enjoyed in moderation.
It’s got calcium and protein going for it, but cheese is also loaded with saturated fat and has a good deal of cholesterol and sodium, not to mention calories. A single ounce of cheese can be anywhere from 72 calories (part-skim mozzarella) to 127 (grated Parmesan).
You’ve probably only heard about the upsides of this miracle grain—and there are many. But after it’s been cooked, this rice substitute and complete protein also delivers 222 calories per cup, which isn’t bad at all, but could help pack on pounds if it’s just the base or sidekick of your meal.