When it comes to losing weight, we automatically think we have to try and eat the healthiest foods we can to be successful.
British fitness blogger Lucy Mountain knows all too well what a struggle it can be to eat healthy and still feel satisfied. She wants to send the message that we can enjoy the food we eat and reach our goals as long as we stay mindful about what we put in our bodies and our portion sizes.
That's why Mountain is trying to change the way we look at our meals by creating visual comparisons between what is considered junk food and health food, and she makes good points.
"Same amount of food, different calories."
Mountain points out that the only differences between these two meals are the meat and oil used to cook it.
The meat on the left is five percent fat beef, while the beef on the right contains 12 percent fat. The left meal was cooked with Fry Light olive oil spray and the right was cooked with a tablespoon of olive oil. While Mountain stresses that nothing is wrong with using either, keeping these differences in mind and swapping them can help with weight management.
"A handful of almonds vs. a packet of fruit pastels."
Mountain acknowledges that the almonds are the healthier choice, but that sometimes, a bit of candy is good for the soul.
Of course, the almonds have more nutritional value when compared to sweets, but as Mountain puts it, "fruit pastels (in moderation) make me happy which I believe contributes largely to my overall health."
"Protein porridge vs. protein porridge."
The difference in calories above can be explained by the toppings used in the porridge.
The bowl on the left contains blueberries, raspberries, and manuka honey, while the right contains a banana, four dates, and almond butter. Mountain asserts again that neither are good or bad, but one may be better for your depending on your calorie and macronutrient goals.
"150ml gin & Slimline tonic vs. 150ml white wine."
The occasional alcoholic drink is definitely enjoyable, but the calories sure add up fast.
One tip Mountain has for regular drinkers is to switch a higher calorie white wine for something like a gin and diet tonic every once in a while if you're worried about your calorie intake.
"Salt and vinegar crisps vs vegetable crisps."
Since the vegetable crisps are marketed as the healthier option, you'd think they'd have fewer calories, but that isn't always the case.
Mountain wants to remind us that sometimes there isn't that big of a difference between the "junk" and "health" foods, "so go for the thing you actually WANT to eat."
"100g milk chocolate vs 100g 85% dark chocolate."
She says if you prefer milk over dark chocolate, go for what you want.
While there is a noticeable difference in calories and health benefits between the two, if you're having a once-in-a-while indulgence in moderation, you might as well enjoy the one you like better.
"Peanut butter on toast vs peanut butter on toast."
We all love peanut butter, but it's definitely easy to eat way more than you're intending to.
Mountain's suggestion to those who are trying to lose or gain weight is to always measure out your peanut butter portions so you know exactly how much you're eating and can track it accordingly.
"What Twix considers one serving vs. real life."
Labels can sometimes trick us with portion sizes.
Take Twix, for example. One serving is one bar, or half of what's inside the wrapper -- and let's be honest, most of us eat the whole thing. That's why it's important to check labels carefully for serving sizes. That way, if you're counting calories, you can plan for eating both bars (if you want) and not feel guilty about it.
"Avocado salad vs avocado salad."
Again, she says that being aware of what we put on our food helps us with our goals, even when it comes to salads.
The toppings on the left salad include a light cheese, sliced toast, a homemade yogurt and mustard dressing, and toasted oats. The toppings on the right include Parmesan cheese, croutons, Caesar dressing, and sunflower seeds.