Foods We Think Are LoCal But REALLY Aren’t


Today’s post is a companion piece to yesterday’s Just 100 Calories post. There are several ways to eliminate just 100 calories a day from your diet. I listed several of those yesterday.

Another way to eliminate just 100 calories a day is to be informed about foods that look or sound healthy or sound like they would be low in calories but really aren’t. 

There are a lot of foods out there that are high in calories but often masquerade as low calories foods.


A salad with nothing but greens and some veggeis is low in calories.

The problem with salads, just like with potatoes, comes with all of the other stuff that we put on them. The Add-Ons as I call them.

Starting with the salad dressing. I looked in my refrigerator and one salad dressing (my favorite) had 140 calories in just 2 tablespoons of dressing.

Then come the other add ons: cheese, Garbanzo beans, croutons, nuts, and the like.

And don’t forget the size of the salad matters too.

Some fancy sit-down restaurant salads have as many as 700-800 or more calories in them. Add those calories to an entrée and it all adds up pretty fast.


Some bran muffins have as many as 500 calories in them. While many bran muffins are low in fat, they are extremely high in sugar.  

And then, of course, is the size of some muffins. Eating one or two small muffins is one thing. Eating a gargantuan one quite another.

As I have often mentioned here at More Thyme it is less what we eat than how much we eat. Portion size matters.

Tuna Salad

Tuna fish, fresh or canned is healthy. Again, it is what we eat with it. Put a lot of mayo in your tuna salad sandwich and you move from good for you and low in calories to 600 plus calories; that is more than 3 McDonald’s hamburgers. I know! Unbelievable isn’t it? But true none-the-less.

Energy Bars or Breakfast Bars


These little things are some times nutritious. But beware.  If you are counting your calories many of them are 300 or more calories and are packed with sugar. If you are trying to maintain your weight, this could be a bad option.

Turkey Burgers

If you buy ground turkey in a grocery store and you make some thing from it at home in your own kitchen it is more likely to be a healthy option.

If it is a restaurant turkey burger you should be wary especially if you are watching your calories. Some restaurant turkey burgers contain 600 or more calories. And that is just one patty with no add-ons like sauces or cheese or the bun.


In its purest, simplest form these little morsels are low in calories. But beware the American version of these tasty treats that are often laden with lots of cream cheese, salad dressings, and even avocado. While avocados are healthy, they do carry a high calorie wallop. So if you are looking to shave a few calories off your diet, you may want to be a bit careful how many of these you eat.


Granola is a very healthy food. But it is also very high in calories.


Plain yogurt is healthy, but often can be high in calories, especially if made from whole milk.  And yogurt with fruit in it is essentially a candy bar in disguise.

Breakfast Cereals

No matter what the box says many are loaded with extra sugar. If you are trying to lose a bit of weight they may not be a good choice every morning.

Does This Mean I Shouldn’t Eat These Foods?

Not necessarily. Plus I am not into shoulds and shouldn’ts.  I have expressed my philosophy many times here. I pretty much eat what ever I want. I just eat less of it.

Most of the foods above are good choices. Just eat less of it and go light on the dressings and mayo if you want to drop a few calories each day.

Mindful eating is what it’s all about!

Featured Recipe        Sweet and Sour String Bean Salad

This week is starting to look like Salad Week. I didn’t plan it this way. The hot and humid weather kind of dictated what I decided to make. Not cook, mind you. Make. Keep that stove off as much as possible. Right?

This dish could also be used as a cold side dish on hot and humid days if you don’t want to see another salad.

Rest easy. I am making a no cook raspberry dessert for Friday. No more salads. This week.

This salad is also a nice and different alternative to always having potato salad for a picnic.

This is a pretty salad or side dish and delicious as well. Pretty for its lovely green and yellow colors; delicious for its subtle sweet and sour taste. This salad is perfect for a picnic table.

This dish also has the added advantage of being super easy and quick to prepare.

I don’t see fresh wax yellow beans in the store very often. I love wax beans. They are so sweet. I often see them in bags. When I see them either way I get some and make this salad.

Today I found the bagged variety. They are fresh with no preservatives from a neighboring state. In fact, the only ingredient listed on the Food Label is the beans all by them selves. Nothing else.

They have been washed and the ends trimmed. (Mostly as you will see.) I wash them at home too. If saving time is important for you these convenient bags are the way to go if your store carries them.

This is what you will need for 6-8 servings:

1 pound green beans

1 pound yellow wax beans

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Juice of ½ lemon (About 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Place the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper in a bowl large enough to hold all the beans. 

Whisk well and set aside.

Wash the beans and trim the ends. If you get bagged as I used, wash and trim any ends that may have been missed. You can see a few beans that were missed in the picture below.

Bring a large pan with 1-2 inches of water with a steamer to a boil.

Place the beans in the steamer…………….

Cover and steam for 5-6 minutes until crisp tender or until beans reach desired tenderness.

Remove the beans to the bowl with the dressing…………

…………………..and toss the beans until well coated with the dressing.


Place the beans in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until completely cool.

When cold add salt and pepper to tatse and serve.

Bon appétit.


1 pound green beans                        $3.29             

1 pound yellow wax beans                 $4.59

4 tablespoons olive oil                       $0.48

2 tablespoons wine vinegar                $0.21

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard              $0.20

Juice of ½ lemon                              $0.34

1 tablespoon honey                           $0.19

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $9.30
Cost per serving = $1.55 – $1.16

Quote of the Day

You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made, [Chef Bugnard] said. Even after you eat it, it stays with you – always.

Julia Child (My Life in France)


Print Friendly

7 comments to Foods We Think Are LoCal But REALLY Aren’t

  • I’ve said it before, it’s all about portion size. If folks would realize that it’s not always what you eat (unless it’s always chocolate cake and ice cream) – it’s about how much goes on the plate. We can easily get by with half what we normally eat with no detriment to health.

    The beans look look great and at less than $2 a serve it’s better than going out to eat.

    • Roberta

      But even the chocolate cake and ice cream may have been partly disproven with The Twinkie Diet. Have you heard about that?

  • Yuri

    As a health freak panda, I’m always helping my friends make smarter choices. Granola and granola bars are calorie/sugar bombs. A salad from Wendy’s is more caloric than a burger+fries… And like someone once said, muffins are an excuse to have cake for breakfast. It’s ok to have one once in a while but don’t fool yourself thinking u’re gonna lose weight on a granola diet!

  • Jay

    Nice article. I’m not one for calorie counting. Instead, I rely on portion sizes like Maureen said. You can drive yourself batty counting calories and fat. Instead, why not concentrate on portion control? It’s easier to do and makes so much more sense.

    The beans do look really good. 🙂 I will have to try them!

  • Great post dear! I’ve started a healthier outlook in life and definitely agree with your points. Everything does have to be double checked and we can’t assume all granola is healthy…although I’ve lately discovered a bar that is amazing! Vegan, Raw, Agave as sweetener, Gluten free as well! They’re called Pure Bars…check’em out. 🙂 Thanks for the post dear!

  • Now this is my kind of recipe! Will definitely try this soon.