We know add-ons by so many names, but what we know is that we don't want to eat our sandwich, chicken, or moi-moi alone. Pairing up foods with sides can work in our favor as it can help us balance out our nutrients, but more often than not, it actually works against us. I'll explain.
How often do you find yourself counting all the calories in a meal when you eat out, and then going "Oh, I'll just have a side of fries with that!" Our brain works to make us think that if we are having fewer calories overall, then it must be okay. The sad part though is that the side may contain just as many calories as the meal. (Yes, I know it looks tiny, but no...)
In case you were wondering, let's assess some of the popular sides and see how much they actually contain. Let's base this on the standard 2000 calorie diet, though I know a lot of women on here trying to lose weight will probably be eating less than that.
- McDonald's small french fries: 230 calories (vs their apple slices that only contain 15 calories!)
- Chick-Fil-A chicken salad cup: 360 calories (vs their fruit cup which is only 50 calories)
- KFC BBQ baked beans: 240 calories (vs their corn on the cob which is only 70 calories)
Now, if you were paying attention, you would notice that the substitutes I provided are not only fewer in calories but also natural food compared to the fried and battered options above. I always propose that we go for natural above processed food because the additives in the processed food also come with their baggage. (Limit what you cannot pronounce, right?)
While we are on the topic, let's look at some popular Nigerian sides that we can also substitute for others:
- 3 medium puff puff: 480 calories (vs 1 cup of boiled peanuts with 200 calories)
- 1 cup of fried plantain: 400 calories (vs 1 cup of boiled plantain with 180 calories)
We will talk about how we sabotage ourselves with what we drink another day. But for today, I hope this actually helps you make some better decisions as you pick the sides you eat. And remember, it is a process so don't beat yourself up if you don't suddenly like to eat the substitutes. It takes time.
Cheers Eights & Weights!