We hate to be the ones to break it to you, however that bran muffin you have for breakfast might be undermining your wellness (through numerous fat) and sabotaging your waistline (with excess calories). Same goes for granola, banana chips, trail mix, turkey warm dogs, and any kind of variety of health-food pretenders that are frequently higher in fat, sugars, and calories, or reduced in nutrients than they would seem to be. Or they have actually all sorts of stuff included to them that you don"t really require.

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The solution? "Read nutrition labels," advises Leslie J. Bonci, M.P.H., director of sports nutrition at the College of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Here are a dozen health-food pretenders that may seem great for you, but aren"t necessarily—plus suggestions on what to attempt instead.

Also below, check out our advice on portion size, which is essential for remaining slim.

(This short article is republished from Food & Fitness, which you have the right to buy virtual or at a newsstand. This Consumer Reports magazine will certainly aid you learn exactly how to eat good tasting meals and also continue to be healthy and balanced on a budget; know as soon as it pays to buy organic; discover the supersector traps that deserve to price you money; and also find out the tricks of just how real-life family members preserve a healthy and balanced weight and remain in shape. Plus, acquire our exclusive Ratings for renowned food items and also exercise tools.)


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"Sweetened applesauce has several added sugar," says Elisa Zied, R.D., writer of "Nutrition at Your Fingertips" (Alpha, 2009). A 1-cup serving deserve to have up to 200 calories.Try this: Unsweetened applesauce generally has actually half the calories, Zied says. If it"s as well tart for your taste, include some cinnamon or, much better yet, eat an apple instead. You"ll acquire added fiber as a bonus.


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Yes, they"re made from good-for-you bananas. But they"re typically fried in coconut or palm oil, unhealthy resources of saturated fat. That"s why tbelow deserve to be 210 calories and also 13 grams of saturated fat in a serving.Try this: Have a banana. You"ll gain numerous nutrients for fifty percent the calories and also no fat.


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Many kind of bran muffins are the dimension of doorstops—actually 2 servings in one muffin. And they"re frequently loaded via fat, sugar, and also calories, Bonci states. Slather on butter and you could also eat a frosted cupcake.Try this: Bran cereal through low-fat milk and also fresh fruit. Flakes, buds, or clusters—it"s your alternative.


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Couscous "Regular couscous is a processed, refined grain, just choose white pasta is," claims Blatner. "It has little nutritional worth."Try this: Whole-wheat couscous—or opt for a totality grain favor quinoa or brvery own rice.


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"It has a health halo because of the word yogurt, but it"s really a high-sugar dessert," states Dawn Jackchild Blatner, R.D., spokeswoman for the Amerihave the right to Dietetic Association, and also author of "The Flexitarian Diet" (McGraw-Hill, 2009). Generally, fro-yo has actually a nutritional profile that resembles light ice cream more than simple yogurt.Try this: To gain the probiotic benefits of simple yogurt, look for the seal on the label of frozen yogurt indicating "Live and Active Cultures."


"The amount of fruit they contain is less than 10 percent," says Bonci. "These are greatly just focused sugar."Try this: A tiny portion of dried fruit, such as apricots or raisins. They"re denser in calories yet contain more nutrients.


It"s normally high in sugar, fat, and calories—and relatively low in vitamins and minerals. Tright here are about 400 calories in a cup.Try this: A bowl of an airy, oat-based cereal, favor Cheerios, came out tops in our last test of kid-friendly cereals. For additional crunch and also sweetness, add simply a sprinkling of granola on peak.


The nuts are a good resource of heart-healthy fats, and also the dried fruits provide good-for-you vitamins, however some mixes have many calories for simply a few ounces. One cup deserve to contain virtually 700 calories! And because it"s a tasty finger food, it"s easy to overeat. Try this: Cut calories by making your own combicountry. Mix a palmful of nuts and seeds via a teaspoon or so of raisins.


A lot of turcrucial hot dogs are surprisingly high in fat— higher, also, than regular warm dogs, says Bonci. Some contain loads of sodium and nitrates.Try this: A turkey breastern sandwich—unmuch less you"re really craving that hot dog flavor. If that"s the situation, read packeras and go for the variation via the lowest amount of fat.


"They may contain the colors of the rainbow, but they don"t count as a serving of veggies," claims Bonci. Worse, they"re typically high in fat and also calories.Try this: Air-popped popcorn or dried veggies. Bonci recommends the Just Tomatoes brand of dried vegetables because they have actually no added fat, salt, or anything else.


Sure, they have actually some included nutrients, however they"re frequently packed with sugar and sometimes caffeine, states Catherine Christie, R.D., chair of the department of nutrition and also dietetics at the College of North Florida in Jacksonville.Try this: Level old water or sparkling water with a squeeze from a lemon, lime, or orange.

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They"re generally huge—sufficient for two people, really—and high in calories and also periodically fat. Try this: A sandwich on wholegrain or whole-wheat bcheck out. When shopping for bcheck out, examine the ingredients: make certain totality grain tops the list.


Portion size, or just how much of a certain food you actually eat, is essential for remaining slim. But many of the moment you need to "guesstimate" the appropriate serving dimension."While the terms "serving" and "portion" are frequently supplied interchangeably, they actually mean different points," claims Marisa Moore, R.D., nationwide spokeswoman for the Amerideserve to Dietetic Association.A serving is a conventional market amount offered to identify calorie counts on food labels. A percentage is the amount of food you actually eat. As food containers, restaurant sections, and drink bottles have actually become supersized, the gap in between servings and sections has actually obtained really out of whack. And what we eat is frequently dictated by the size of the container or the dish we order—not the recommfinished serving sizes posted on nutrition labels and websites.Even if you carry out check the labels, it"s not constantly straightforward to judge what constitutes a true serving, in part because it"s usually provided in regards to weight, which the average perchild could uncover difficult to transform to a real-people amount. After all, what does an ounce look like? How around a gram?To check out just how accurately human being deserve to judge a serving, we carried out our very own test: We provided around 100 staffers paper plates and asked them to dish out one serving each of three foods: dry-roasted peanuts, cheddar-cheese cubes, and chicken wings. We offered each serving dimension in weight, the means it generally shows up on food labels. Perhaps they were on to the objective of our experiment: They were even more likely to measure out as well little food than too a lot. But their all-over-the-map guesses highlight just how hard it is to judge how much to eat—also as soon as you"re trying!


Use a food scale to weigh portions so you can construct an eye for what a true serving looks like. You have the right to buy a scale for less than $20.

Cheese cubes1 serving = 1 ounce = around 4 cubesGuesses ranged from 1 cube to 5 cubesChicken wings1 serving = 4.4 ounces = around 4 wingsGuesses ranged from 1 wing to 4 wings

Peanuts1 serving = 1 ounce = 39 peanutsGuesses ranged from 5 peanuts to 50 peanutsUse these visual cues to judge serving sizes and also limit calories:3 ounces of meat = a deck of cards1 cup of grain or cooked pasta = a baseball1.5 ounces of cheese = 4 stacked dice1/2 cup fresh fruit = half a baseball