I bought a 100-calorie brownie the other day made by a company called Glenny's. The weight on the package said 41g -- but then I weighed it and it actually weighed 55g. Does that mean it had more than 100 calories? Yikes! Should I be weighing all of my packaged foods? What's the deal, HG?
You, my friend, ROCK. That's an excellent question, and I am very impressed that you thought it was a good idea to weigh your brownie before devouring it. The answer to your first question is, YES, that brownie did contain more than 100 calories. The nutritional info on food labels is based on weight. If the label states that a product has X number of calories for the given serving size, but the actual serving size is larger, then you need to calculate the nutritionals based on how much your snack actually weighs. So, in this case, your little brownie snack actually had 134 calories, as opposed to 100. Keep in mind, companies are allowed to be up to 20% off on their weights and nutritionals (a little-known fact). To answer your second Q, yes, I think it's a good idea to weigh your packaged foods when you can. Don't go CRAZY weighing every little thing, but if you have access to a scale (click here to see one of our faves!) and can easily toss stuff onto it every so often, you should. I think you'll find that, for the most part, big-brand stuff will weigh what it's supposed to weigh, and products from the smaller mom 'n pop companies will be where you'll find the biggest discrepancies. But don't freak out, because knowledge is power -- so if you know that some of your foods weigh more and have more calories and fat, you can plan your food choices accordingly.
Dear Hungry Girl,
I do fine during the day watching what I eat, but after dinner I cannot seem to stop eating. I eat fruit, dry cereal, popcorn... sometimes all three in the same night. Help! I know that this is sabotaging my weight loss. Any suggestions?
Dear Nighttime Nosher,
You're right. Your late-night munching is likely hindering your weight loss, and that's a shame. You work so hard at it all day, and then you come home and end up eating WAY too much. Something tells me you may not be eating enough throughout the day. Maybe you're depriving yourself and your hunger builds throughout the day, so by the time you get home you're ravenous? Eating several small meals throughout the day (ones with plenty of protein and enough healthy fats) might help curb your late-night appetite. If I were you, I would try to avoid eating the super-carby stuff (like cereal) at night. I think it only makes you hungrier and more likely to binge eat. Also, avoid eating ANYTHING straight from the box or bag -- if you're gonna snack, force yourself to dole out a portion into a bowl or onto a plate, and you'll be less likely to go totally overboard. I personally like to eat fruit after dinner (you've got the right idea with that snack!) -- it's light, it satisfies a sweet tooth, and it should curb any hunger you might still have. BTW, if you're ever in the middle of a nighttime food frenzy, there are a few tricks that might help stop you in your tracks. Try downing a few glasses of water (it's good at getting the message to your body that it's full). Or try sipping flavored decaf tea or coffee, or another flavored, calorie-free beverage -- those are satisfying and they taste good. And when all else fails, BRUSH YOUR TEETH! The minty toothpaste is GREAT for killing food cravings (just make sure your toothpaste doesn't taste like popcorn or cookies!). Let me know how it goes!