As a registered dietician, I like to tout the nutritious benefits of foods. But sometimes healthy eats don’t need any free publicity — in fact, there are plenty of good-for-you foods that people tend to overdo it with.
To ensure that you’re getting enough — but not too much — of these healthy items, I’ve made a list of the things you’re most likely overeating right now.
Avocados are great for your heart (and hair, skin, digestion, and more). That said, each one also contains 322 calories and 29 grams of fat. Feel free to use one-third of a medium avocado as a serving of fat in your meal or snack — but that’s all you need to reap the benefits of the fruit.
This ingredient works beautifully in your trail mix, sprinkled on your oatmeal, or drizzled in oil form on your sauté pan. It’s loaded with nutrients, including lauric acid, potassium, and fiber — but it’s another food to use with caution. Whether you’re cooking with the oil or using coconut flakes in a smoothie, two teaspoons is a good amount to stick to.
3. Chia Seeds
Absolutely eat chia seeds — they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, and protein. Just use one tablespoon on your yogurt, in your smoothies, or sprinkled on your salad. Too much of this good thing is hard on the digestive system and may trigger certain, ahem, issues if you aren’t used to it.
Bananas are loaded with tons of nutrition — but be careful if you’re one of those people who is a creature of habit and tends to eat the same thing over and over (and over) again. Too many bananas are tough on the GI tract. In extreme cases, you can even run the risk of potassium toxicity (although this is a bigger concern for children). While there’s no hard-and-fast number of bananas that would give you a potassium problem, I generally recommend eating no more than a couple each week so that you have a chance to switch up the fruit you’re taking in.
A seed, not a grain, quinoa is full of fiber and protein. The calorie profile is similar to that of most grains, with about 110 calories in a half-cup. The problem? People tend to think of it as an uber-health food and don’t watch their portion sizes. Use quinoa sparingly, and treat it like a starch by limiting to yourself to a half-cup serving size. You’ll reap all the benefits without the added cals.
Depending on what’s in your morning cocktail, the calories can go down really easily — and unlike with solid foods, your body won’t register that it’s full in the same way. The best way to enjoy without going over the calorie edge? Make your smoothies at home, and assess if you would normally eat all of the food going into the blender in one sitting. My smoothie formula: one cup ice, one cup milk or milk alternative, one fruit, one fat, and a bonus like mint, cinnamon, or vanilla extract.