Mindful Food Preparation: How Healthy Becomes High Calorie

When you are working toward weight loss, it’s important to consider all your calorie sources. Food journals are beneficial for tracking everything from beverages to condiments. It’s just as important to track the details of food preparation. This blog post by Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding demonstrates how a healthy food that you prepare at home can become high calorie.

Oatmeal: A Case Study

Oatmeal is a health food staple. It’s nutritious, filling and contains soluble fiber, which is excellent for reducing bad cholesterol. The problem? On its own, oatmeal is not very flavorful. Health food marketers know this, so there are a wide variety of flavored oatmeals available. That way you still feel like you’re eating a healthy food, but it tastes delicious. Naturally any sugars, fruits or other flavorings add calories. Finally, servings of uncooked oatmeal always look small. A serving size is one packet, but many people tear open two at breakfast time.

A Closer Look at Calories

For one popular brand, two packets of plain oatmeal contain 200 calories. Two packets of their raisin, date and walnut oatmeal contain 280 calories. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it is if you are looking for a 500 calorie per day deficit.

Is Homemade Always Better for Weight Loss?

In a bid for calorie control and better health, many choose to buy plain oats and flavor them at home. This can be a better option, but only with responsible flavorings. While the outcomes may be a lot more varied (and more delicious), they may also contain a lot more calories. If you would like to lose weight, run your recipe through a recipe nutrition calculator first.

This is especially important if you are choosing recipes online. Anyone can post a recipe on the internet. Just because they say it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s low calorie or good for you. A serving of rolled oats is ½ cup, which is 150 calories if you make it with water. Some recipes suggest milk or almond milk to make it creamier. For example, look at the ingredient list for this oatmeal recipe:

Ingredient Calories
1 small banana 90 cal
1 cup almond milk 93 cal
1 tbsp honey 64 cal
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon 6 cal
1 pinch salt
½ cup rolled oats 150 cal
⅛ cup almonds 103 cal
total 506 cal

Sounds delicious indeed, but you can see how the calories add up. This has significantly higher calories per oatmeal serving than packets of flavored oatmeal.

Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management ProgramSchedule an Evaluation with Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding

Are you dieting but still not losing weight? Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding and colleagues at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program are ready to help. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org. Begin your weight loss journey today.

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