The foods we overeat
Over many years of talking to clients and discussing their daily food habits it becomes apparent that there are is a small group of foods that many of us overeat regularly. While we may enjoy pizza or hot chips or a pasta meal occasionally these are not the foods we overeat on a daily basis. Rather it is the chocolate, cheese, biscuits and cake that tend to dominate the diet histories of those wanting to shift a few kilos, even though their diets are relatively healthy. So if you fall victim to these foods too often as well, here is how to take control.
Cheese is a tough one simply because there are so many different types and ways we can consume it on a daily basis. Cheese is a nutritious food – it contains protein, calcium and magnesium and while it does contain some fat a serve or two of cheese each day, or 30g (size of a matchbox) is no issue. On the other hand if you down 1/2 a block of Mersey Valley with a few wines before dinner, add feta to your salad and snack on cheese throughout the day you may be overdoing it. In general white cheese including cottage cheese, goats cheese and feta are lower in fat than cheddar cheese while haloumi, Brie and Camembert are high in fat. If you aim for 1-2 cheese serves each day, cut your portions in advance so you don’t eat an entire block and use grated or shaved where possible you will keep your portions under control. And perhaps leave the Brie and haloumi for occasional treats.
The high fat and high sugar vice of many, it is the portions of chocolate we consume regularly that get us into trouble when it comes to our weight. A 20-30g serve of chocolate equates to an extra 100-120 calories and is a reasonable portion if you enjoy chocolate regularly. Dark chocolate is slightly better but it is still relatively high in fat and calories. The biggest issue with chocolate is that we tend to buy it in blocks, which means we also tend to eat blocks so if you do like to treat yourself, the smaller the portions you buy the better. And watch the little extras like the fundraising chocolates or a few individual Favourites that can slip into our day, especially if you work in an office environment.
Plain sweet biscuits are made with white flour, sugar and vegetable oil and offer few if no positive nutritional properties. The issue with regular biscuit consumption, especially if they are served at work is that we consume them mindlessly and before you know it you are eating 3-4 plain biscuits a day and adding a couple of hundred extra calories into your day. The best advice for regular biscuit munchers is to go cold turkey and instead enjoy a good quality homemade biscuit occasionally because once you start with the biscuit tin it is hard to stop. If you must indulge, keep in mind that biscotti is a better choice if you can find it at the local cafe.
Your daily cake may mean banana bread, muffins or the treats others offer you are work but with the average serve of cake containing close to 300 calories and 10g of fat, cake really is a special occasion food. You know deep down that banana bread and muffins are also just cake which means once you ditch your weekly banana bread habit you will rid your diet of a significant amount of fat and calories. A much better sweet option is a macaroon or friand, both much lower in fat and calories or if you must have a muffin or banana bread occasionally, at least try and share with a friend. And when it comes to the weekly work birthday cake, aim to taste not eat the treat to again keep in control of your overall calorie intake.