Cooking Practices and Production Methods that Add Calories to Food

Most diets you get on with the purpose of losing weight will require that you don’t go crazy on your calorie intake. There are some exceptions, but by and large you will need to avoid high-caloric foods.

Even if you’re out there purchasing tofu and veggies and thinking that you’re getting off easy, you can still be putting more calories in your body due to the way the food is prepared by you, and even by the way it’s prepared at the factory.

First up, let’s speak about factory production methods that may be adding extra calories to food (plus extra sodium, carbohydrates and fats).

Production Methods

Brining/Marinades

On a low-carb diet, you’re probably all over the meat aisle in your local grocery store, constantly looking for boneless and skinless chicken breasts, turkey, pork loin and beef products, and even bacon. These foods might be a little higher in calorie count than they should be, though.

You’ve probably seen them at the store – those pork loins and chicken breasts that come vacuum sealed in some supposedly delicious marinade. Well, they are tasty. There’s no denying that. But what you’re getting is a lot of sugar and a lot of salt.

Because it’s a lean piece of meat, a lot of us don’t pay attention to exactly what else is in it. A quick tip: buy all-natural foods and flavor them yourself at home using herbs and spices. Avoid these pre-marinated foods.

Believe it or not, even flavored tofu (such as tofurkey, faux hotdogs, etc) comes with added calories from sugar and salt. You might be cutting the fat, but you’re still picking up unwanted carbs and sodium.

Sugars

Beware of any sort of packaged fruits and veggies. You might not think that box of frozen vegetables are using extra salts and sugars to enhance the flavors, but many are – and they are not required to tell you that and can still list their products as “natural.”

Canned fruit is definitely something you want to avoid. This is packed in corn syrup – pure sugar. If your diet calls for fruit, purchase whole organic fruit and stay away from that processed stuff.

Preparation Methods

This is all about how you’re cooking the food at home, and it starts in pretty much the same way the factory methods start:

Brining/Marinades

If you’re preparing any meat with a brine or marinade, make sure you watch the amount of sugar and salt you’re putting into the solution. The food isn’t going to pick up a lot of it, obviously, but you’re still dealing with extra calories and extra sodium. It’s understandable that you want better flavor with your food, but herbs and spices do the trick.

Butter/Oil

Frying your food should be a no-no at this point. You should understand that using any sort of butter or oil in food preparation is adding unwanted and unneeded calories to your meal. And it doesn’t have to be fried food to add these calories. Butter inside of mashed potatoes or oil inside a blueberry muffin mix is extra calories you do not need.

Even if you think using cooking spray to fry a chicken breast is okay, you’re still getting calories and fat from the oil used. It might list it as 0 grams of fat, but that’s only per serving (a quick spray). Cooking sprays are as fatty as any other oil you’ll use.

Breading

Some people try to switch to baking foods instead of frying the food to cut out fat and calories from their diet. And while this is a great method, you still might be gaining unwanted calories if you’re breading your food.

Mock-fried chicken in the oven needs to be breaded, and whatever you’re using, whether flour, cornmeal, etc, is probably still loaded down with bad carbohydrates that you should be avoiding.

Add-On Ingredients

For flavor or texture, a lot of people add things like milk and alcohol to their foods during cooking. This is something else that you should try to cut out. It’s just adding extra calories in there from carbs.

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