Clean treats, superfoods, acai bowls, green smoothies, granola health bars, date and nut balls, loving earth chocolate, paleo banana bread, fruit salad with sweetened thick greek yougurt, the list can go on- they are all healthy right?! These snacks are made from natural ingredients- nuts, seeds, coconut oil, fruit, oats, dates, coconut, cacao, maple syrup, dried fruit, honey and greek yougurt- they may be a healthy choice in a really small amount (and after training), but they are all very calorie dense.
Marketing, branding and placement of these treats at the supermarket, health food store or weekend markets can make them irresistible to the consumer who is trying to be "healthy". I know I'm guilty of it- I love all these foods, especially combined together...the sweet, crunchy, nutty, fatty, chocolatey mouth sensation, yummo! At the end of the day a treat is still a treat- no matter the ingredients, and if you are not making it yourself, you don't really know what is going in there.
If you are following a calorie controlled diet plan with fat loss as your main goal, then one of these treats per day can kill the deficit, and each week you will be left wondering where did I go wrong? Nothing is moving on the scale!?! I'm not saying they are bad - this is just to be aware....
Here are 3 examples:
A green smoothie can be anywhere between 220kCal to 800 kCal depending on the size and the ingredients added. If it has protein powder, fruits, sweetened yougurt, spinach leaves, avocado, hemp seeds etc, you are looking at around a whopping 800KCal! This is more than a proper meal with approximately 48g carbs, 23g fat and 36 g of protein. It's about half your daily calories in one drink, and it probably won't keep you full for any longer than 3 hours.
Walnut, date and cacao balls have anywhere between approximately 100kCal to 230 kCal depending on the size and ingredients per ball, and it's not easy to stop at one! Two of these plus a soy latte is over 500kCal for morning tea.
Loving Earth Chocolate- seemingly innocent right? A healthy version of chocolate. The caramel chocolate bar per serve, which is 35gms (1/2 bar) has 230kCal, with 11g carbs, 21g fat and 2g protein and who eats half a bar? The full bar is usually demolished by the end of the day.
So what I'm trying to get at is these highly calorie dense snacks can easily keep you from hitting your weight loss goals. A better (sweet) snack would be a piece of whole fruit with a high protein (20g) unflavoured yougurt, or a homemade protein shake with 1 piece of whole fruit, protein powder, blended with ice and water- both under 200kCal of energy per serve. Or a savory snack of raw vegetable sticks and a couple of boiled eggs, or corn thins with 100g of low fat cottage cheese and tomato.
If you main goal is fat loss and you are strength training and want to preserve muscle mass, then instead of focusing on "superfoods" and juices, focus on getting your plate right. Each main meal should have at least 1-2 palm sizes of protein, 1 cupped hand size of carbs, 1-2 serves of non-starchy veg and 1-2 thumb size serves of fat. Eating like this 3 times a day should curb hunger, keep you full and satiated and limit snacking to a minimum.
There are 5 months left in 2020, this is enough time to make some serious changes if you are ready! I offer personalised nutrition and strength coaching with a 12 week minimum for great results, if you are stuck and find yourself in an ongoing yoyo cycle, I can help. We work on small daily action steps and one change at a time to make the process, achievable, educational and mostly enjoyable. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org