Watch Out for Hidden Calories

Nancy Copperman, RD

Of the top five major sources of calories for adults, only two foods are good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They are chicken and yeast breads. The rest of the foods--grain-based desserts (for example: cookies, cakes, pies, muffins) and sweetened sodas, energy drinks and alcoholic beverages--are not a significant source of nutrition, but they are a significant source of calories. So try to cut down on portion sizes and frequency of these foods and instead to replace them with fruit, water, flavored seltzers and decaffeinated iced tea flavored with sliced lemons, lines, oranges and mint.

Top 5 Sourcees of Calories

Improve the quality of chicken dishes and yeast breads (for example, bagels, croissants, fruit breads) by considering the following:

  • A New York bagel is equivalent to eating four or five slices of bread! A croissant can contain 300 calories and three pats of butter, even without additional filling or spread. Try substituting a whole-grain light English muffin, whole-grain mini bagel, or two slices of whole wheat bread because whole grains provide fiber. Look for foods that provide at least two grams of fiber per serving, as shown on the Nutrition Facts Label.
  • Frying and sauces add calories to chicken. Grilled or broiled chicken that has been marinated or seasoned can provide a great-tasting meal that is nutritious and low in calories. Read the Nutrition Facts Labels on precooked or frozen chicken dishes. Many foods have already been fried or have fat added to them so that they crisp in the oven or microwave. Check the nutrition information posted at fast food restaurants or online. Choose foods that have less than 300 calories, 6 grams (gm) of fat and 500 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving. Check out the serving size the labels refer to, because some packages may contain two or more servings.

Read more about healthy eating at our wellness publication.


Nancy Copperman, RD,

Director of Public Health Initiatives
Office of Community Health
North Shore-LIJ Health System

*Disclaimer: The medical content on the North Shore-LIJ Health Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consultation with your physician regarding diagnosis, treatment or any other form of specific medical advice. More...