You’re in a cafe on a Sunday arvo and all you’re torn between are two items on the menu.
Do you go for the dirty burger, or try and be healthy with a superfood-charged meal instead?
Well, you might be surprised to learn than not all “healthy” foods are actually good for you. In fact, if you were to ask the average person which of the following foods contains more calories — a hamburger or a salad — most people would choose the salad.
However there are many popular health foods that have plenty more calories than a simple hamburger.
While it’s not to say that a burger is always the healthy choice, it’s often a shock when people discover their health-conscious meals are not always as good for them as they were led to believe.
With so many healthy meals potentially catching you out, here are some of the common culprits:
In any food court or even fast-food chain you are likely to see a chicken wrap on the menu. While some of these options are small and contain grilled chicken, the reality is that most options on offer are made using carb-heavy wraps, high-fat sauces such as mayonnaise and extras including cheese and avocado which can easily tip these wraps well over 700-800 calories in a single serve. This is especially true when the wraps are made using deep fried chicken schnitzel which can bump the calories of a wrap well over 1000 per serve.
Regularly on the menu at local cafes and those sprouting low-carb diets, with flour replaced with coconut flour or almond meal, does not make any kind of pancake low in calories. Rather the mix of a dense flour along with sauces, cream, ice-cream or yoghurt as well as fruit means that the average serve of pancakes – even healthy ones – will contain at least 600 calories and more likely closer to 1000 if you enjoy your pancakes with plenty of extra toppings.
Who doesn’t love an acai bowl? The delicious mix of muesli, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds that appears on the social media page of many an influencer looks about as healthy as you can get. Whilst pretty, the mix of fruit juice, fruit puree, toasted muesli and nuts means even a small acai equates to at least 600-800 calories and a massive 60-80g of sugar. In food terms this means an acai bowl is more a special treat dessert meal rather than a regular healthy breakfast option.
While a simple salad mix of leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and a little dressing contains minimal calories, when you add fried meat, lashings of cheese, toasted bread and creamy dressings — even if you use kale as your base — you still have a calorie overload. The average Caesar salad served at cafes will contain 800-1000 calories per serve and at least 40-60g of fat. This is also the case with a range of other salads that are made using creamy dressings and using multiple high-fat ingredients such as nuts, cheese and avocado with pasta salad, pumpkin and feta and most noodle-based salads containing at least 600 calories per serve.
With images of brightly-coloured salads and wholegrains, you could be forgiven for thinking that a burrito or nacho bowl is a healthier option than typical Mexican fare. And while these options do tend to contain larger serves of salad, in calorie terms they can still blow out the budget. The combination of rice, avocado, sour cream, cheese and a few corn chips means that the average burrito bowl will easily clock in at 600-800 calories and that is for a relatively small bowl.
So next time you’re choosing between an Insta-worthy superfood dish and a simple beef burger, you may want to think twice.