Lucy Mountain's a British blogger. Her specialty? Fitness! And when it comes to keeping in shape, eating a balanced diet is essential if you want to fight the flab. What to eat depends on the diet you decide to follow, but most people cut out saturated fats and keep a tab of their daily calorie consumption. And it's calories that interest Lucy. So she set out to compile a list of nutrtional comparisons that suggest counting calories is not the be all and end all of healthy eating.
This blogger has shown that small 'cheat meals' often contain more calories than a huge serving of food that's nutritionally better for our bodies. Add additives to the list and before you know it, you've passed your daily calorie intake allowance.
Meet Lucy Mountain, a fitness blogger with something important to say when it comes to counting calories
1. A handful of almonds vs a handful of fruit pastilles
A of people would prefer to munch on candy rather than nuts, but from a nutritional point of view, almonds are way ahead in terms of body-friendly benefits. Even if the calorie count is the same, candy's packed with refined sugar, whilst almonds contain very little. That said we all deserve mood-lifting moments, so if you want to crush a couple of candies you can - just don't go OTT!
2. Salt and vinegar potato chips vs vegetable chips
The calorie count between potato chips vs vegetable chips is pretty close and it goes without saying that both contain added oil and salt. The trick is to be wary of foods that claim to be healthier, when in fact they're not! In this case, you can go for either of the two 'flavors'.
3. Plain vs flavored water
According to Lucy, many of us incorrectly believe that flavored water contains zero calories - and she was no exception. When she once went on a fast, she drank gallons of flavored water thinking it was calorie-free, only to feel deceived when she discovered the truth.
4. Twix, the problem with 'serving' sizes
We all scour food labels when we're calorie counting and even if you want eat something that's been in your diet for years, it's still worth checking out serving sizes! If you're like us, you'll wolf down a whole Twix, but bear in mind that the 'serving size' on the label may be half the amount that you actually eat.
5. Starbucks white americano vs flat white
If we realized how many calories we consume in our drinks throughout the day, we'd be in for a shock. By adding milk to a flat white, the calorie counts climbs from 260 to 300 and if you order a white americano, expect an extra 250 calories in your morning cup!
6. Solero vs Magnum
Their calorie counts speak for themselves. If you're on a diet or fast, opt for a Solero and you'll be able to enjoy a refreshing, sugary taste but keep within your calorie limit.
7. A healthy breakfast?
In this case, there's not a huge difference in the calories, but McVitie's cookies contain more protein than Belvita. That said, Belvita cookies have higher levels of micronutrients. The above servings have about the same number of calories as 150g of spinach.
8. Slimming vs fattening foods
No single food will make us fat, but if we eat more calories than we use up, then, yes, we'll pile on the pounds. Likewise, no single food will make us lose weight. It all depends on how many calories you eat vs how many calories you burn off during the day.
9. 100 g of milk chocolate vs 100 g of gluten, wheat and dairy-free chocolate
Lots of people associate 'free' with 'healthy' and 'diet'. The truth is more complex - just because a food claims be gluten, dairy or wheat-free, it doesn't mean it contains less calories!
10. Toast with or without butter
As Lucy often says, there's no need to completely cut out a certain food from your diet. If you want some fat, go ahead, but reduce the quantity. By paying attention to quantities, you can eat what you like and still keep your weight down.
11. 100 g milk chocolate vs 100 g of 85% dark chocolate
You love milk chocolate but in your quest to lose weight, you've switched to dark varieties. The good news? You can still eat milk chocolate as it contains fewer calories! Plus you'll feel a zillion times more satisfied!
12. 2 identical dishes with avocado, cheese, croutons and various seeds etc.
Salads and sandwiches are often considered to be lower in calories than your classic meat/fish and vegetable combo. Be warned that salads can be fattening if you smother them with calorie-laden dressings!
13. Three smoothies
Smoothies are replacing meals and snacks in many households and yes, they're nutrition-rich. However, if you're dieting you'll need to pay attention to what your smoothie contains - it can make a lot of difference on the calorie counting front.
14. 100 calories of fresh strawberries vs 100 calories of dried strawberries
Dried fruits are a great snack if you're on the move - eating fresh strawberries whilst you're driving is not recommended... But practicalities aside, fresh fruit is better for your body and if you're trying to lose weight 300g will fill you up more than the dried equivalent.
15. To track or not to track
Well, it's really up to you! How you decide to lose weight also depends on who you are and if religiously counting calories is depressingly stressful, then don't do it. There are plenty of ways to slim down without torturing your body and soul!