Most of us are aware that foods like doughnuts, chips, and cookies are higher in calories and should be enjoyed in moderation. However, even when we do our best to make better food choices, some of the foods we perceive as being healthy may actually be sabotaging our progress if we’re trying to lose weight.

Watch out for some of these sneaky extra calories that could be holding you up:


Cook up a healthy dinner of chicken and veggies in 2 tablespoons of olive oil means you’re adding 28 grams of fat and 250 extra calories to your meal. Swap out that out for olive oil spray or cook with chicken or vegetable stock to add some extra flavor.


Ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayo, and salad dressing can add hundreds of calories to your day. Make an easy switch to reduced-sugar ketchup and BBQ sauce, use mustard in place of mayo on sandwiches, or use Greek yogurt-based dressings or vinegar on salad instead of oil-based dressings.


Reducing the calories you drink is a very effective way to lower your overall caloric intake without changing the food you eat. Adding cream and sugar to coffee and drinking juice, soda, or sweet tea can make a big impact on your day. If you can’t drink coffee black, try adding a splash of almond or coconut milk and a little less sugar. Instead of pairing a meal with a sugary beverage, have unsweetened tea or sparkling water.


These can turn a health-conscious snack into a high-calorie treat. Be deliberate about what you add to salads, parfaits, and smoothies. Dried fruit, croutons, nuts and seeds, and salad dressing can clock in a salad at well over 1000 calories. Adding granola, coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and chocolate to yogurt or smoothies can add hundreds of extra calories without providing a lot of extra food to eat.

Kate Lyman, MPH, CHES is owner and head coach of an online nutrition coaching business. She and her team at KLN believe in ditching restrictive diet rules and building flexible eating habits that allow you to eat the foods you enjoy while still working towards your aesthetic, performance, and health-related goals. She provides individualize and group nutrition coaching and also instructs corporate nutrition seminars. Get in touch at or on follow along at @klnutrition.