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Avoid These Hidden Food Traps That Can Add Stubborn Belly Fat

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Full of fiber, protein, and essential fats, breakfast is the best way to start the day. 

Most people do not have the luxury of eating breakfast at home.  As a society, we are on the run constantly.  Go here, kids have soccer there, and your husband or wife is planning to go to a party here.  Our lives have become so hectic, we sometimes are forced to eat on the road at fast food joints or burger stands.

What do we find there for food?  Pre-processed, high-calorie, and nutrient-dense foods which our bodies can do without!  Portions are larger, and fast food companies and restaurants are trying to pull a fast one on us.  Not just by supersizing a meal, but by adding toppings which makes the drink, food, or snack more appealing.

Here are some of the common food choices which have a TON of hidden calories!

Breakfast:

Pulling up to the drive-through window, you see all the yummy-looking food you can choose from.  You just can’t decide on what to get.  You are trying to lose weight, but the best option they have is a low-fat muffin or a bagel with low-fat cream cheese.  You pull up to the window and get your softball-sized muffin or saucer-sized bagel.   What’s wrong with this picture?

The muffins we are eating today are 6 times larger than a muffin from 20 years ago.  The increased size is leading to extra calories and more fat in our diets; not to mention, a product considered low fat needs to fill the space with something else.  What do they turn to: sugar!  Extra sugar and calories lead to increased waistlines and other health conditions if we are not careful.

The same goes for a bagel.   A bagel 20 years ago was 3 inches wide and 140 calories.  Today’s bagels have ballooned to 6 inches and weigh in at over 300 calories!

Of course you need to have coffee with breakfast, right?  The average size of a cup of Joe has increased over time.  Coffee, in its natural form, is good for you.  It provides plenty of antioxidants which help reduce damage to the cells of the body.  However, what is added to the coffee increases the calories.  Adding cream and sugar to coffee jacks up the calories and adds extra fat. 

Lunch:

Ever go to a fast food place and order a salad?  With obesity on the rise, fast food companies are offering salads.  Salads are great for you.   A salad can have plenty of vegetables, fiber, and other nutrients which are good for the body.

What happens is you have different options and toppings to choose from.  Those different options are loaded with extra cheese, croutons, and dressing, which make it more appealing, but also increase the calories and fat.  

Next time you order a salad, ask for the dressing on the side.  This way you can dip your salad and monitor the amount of calories you are eating.

Dinner:

I love those steakhouses which have fall-off-the-bone ribs.  Delicious!  However, these foods also have hidden calories.   Your meal comes with sides.  You order the potato, then you have to decide if it comes loaded with brown sugar and butter, or just loaded with butter.  Always get toppings on the side!  This way you can put them on yourself and monitor your calories.

Also, the meals are HUGE!  Meals are made for two people.  Two options here: have them box half of the meal for you, or share it with someone else.  This way you can enjoy the meal and save calories too!

One more thing: watch the way food is cooked.  Foods which are prepared in their own juices, sautéed, or deep fried have higher calories, fat, and trans fats than something grilled.  Choosing the grilled item from the menu will help you cut calories, which helps you stay healthy and fit.

Eating out does not have to be a quick end to your weight loss goals.  Making smart choices and not overdoing helps you keep calories in check and prevents you falling for the hidden calories common in fast food takeouts.
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Remember, grilled is better than fried or sautéed, and get your toppings on the side.  This way you can have better control over calories, and this helps you lose weight and keep it off!

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