In an effort to keep our bodies maintained well, whether we are trying to get healthy and lose weight, or simply keep in shape, it can be frustrating when we see a fluctuation in weight the wrong direction. While it’s natural to go up and down in weight, even within a week’s time – it can also be an indicator that perhaps we need to evaluate what exactly could be causing our weight gain. Especially if you’re eating a healthy diet.

When it comes to food, balance is everything. Some of our favorite healthy foods are sneakily causing weight gain simply because they typically are enjoyed in larger than suggested serving sizes. So if you’re looking to keep the weight off, or shed those extra pounds, take a look at this list and see if any of these pesky foods may just be derailing all your hard work!

1. Peanut Butter

Who doesn’t love a smooth creamy (or crunchy!) scoop of peanut butter right off the spoon? It’s not an uncommon thing to reach for when you’re feeling hungry. Problem is, it’s very very calorie dense. Each tablespoon of peanut butter is about 100 calories, and whether you’re enjoying it with apple slices or right off the spoon, it can be easy to get carried away with, making your 100-calorie peanut butter snack actually more like 300-400 calories.

A great option to satisfy your peanut butter taste without all the extra calories and fat is to opt for powdered peanut butter! Powdered peanut butter is simply peanuts that have been dehydrated and stripped of almost all their fats. When you rehydrate it with water, it becomes that smooth, creamy texture you know and love, but with an average of 85% fewer calories and fat! Hello, loophole.

2. Protein Bars

Protein is essential your body’s needs especially when you’re looking to shed weight or maintain your physique at the gym. Protein builds and repairs tissue in your body, it also balances your enzymes, hormones, and chemicals all in your body. When it comes to weight loss, protein is considered the most important nutrient you need to be boosting your metabolism.

On-the-go proteins come with some setbacks though. Often in the form of a protein bar, they are too many times made to taste good with the addition of sugar and fats that make one protein-boosting snack bar the same caloric value of a whole meal! The best way to avoid this is to read your labels, check the ingredients and make sure you’re finding the right healthy protein bar to fit your diet.

3. Fruit Juice

Fruit is obviously very healthy for you. Squish it down and strain it, juice it and drinking it though – can strip all the fiber your body wants from fruit! Not to mention, the sugar and flavor additives can be quite staggering.

Even a simple juice box can average around 150 calories. That’s equivalent to two small apples!! So when you’re looking for something fruity – skip the juice and just eat the fruit!

4. Potatoes

A classic side to almost any meal you could possibly imagine – potatoes are a staple food in our diets! While they are rich in nutrients, they are also the culprit of weight gain for many.

Studies show that potatoes can have a similar effect on blood sugar as a handful of jelly beans or a can of soda. How’s that for perspective! In that same study, it proved that those who increased their consumption of potatoes over time increased their weight by doing so. If you swap out potatoes for cauliflower or even white beans, you will be much better off. Or, try enjoying whole grains like quinoa instead of your side of mashed.

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Of course, we know that sugar is bad for you, so when you’re looking for a good alternative to help you along your day, it makes sense to swap for the “diet” version of sugar…artificial sweeteners.

Trouble is, our brains don’t actually realize that the artificial sweeteners aren’t real sugar, so the brain waits in anticipation for sugar to hit the bloodstream and when it doesn’t, the cravings for sugar begin. Studies are still being done for the long-term impacts of artificial sweeteners, but if you’re someone who consumes a lot of it thinking it’s a no-harm, no-foul drink or sweet, it might be time to reconsider.

6. Low-Fat & Fat-Free Foods

Oh, its all in the wording isn’t it? When brands advertise that a food is low or fat-free, we commonly believe that means it won’t make us gain weight. This is a trap. Avoid it at all costs. Or at least, balance it out a little.

Common fat-free foods: gummy bears, fat-free pudding, low-fat muffins, fat-free frozen yogurts, etc. Bottom line? Fat-free doesn’t equate to healthy. There are other things in those foods that can seriously impact your waistline. Sure, gummies are fat-free…but they are gelatinous bites of sugar, and nothing is worse for you than a heaping intake of sugar!

7. Flavored Yogurts

Another little tricky food item, because yogurts can be good for you. However, the artificially flavored ones are basically a cup of sugar-laden dairy and can most definitely be causing some weight gain if you’re enjoying it regularly.

A great alternative is to opt for a plain greek yogurt, then add in your own fresh fruits or preserves, oats or maple syrup for a protein-rich snack that will actually aid in your weight goals.

8. Avocados

SAY IT’S NOT SO!! Breathe, it’s ok. Avocados are known for being everyone’s favorite “good fat”. But, they are still very calorie dense! Even half an avocado rings in around 150 calories if you can resist eating the other half.

Avocados are definitely a healthy food to be incorporating into your diet. Don’t cut it out, just watch your portions. If you’re a huge fan of guacamole, thankfully there are lovely little individual 100-calorie packets available on the market now that you can pack in your lunch or use to perfectly portion your avocado servings into your day without breaking the calorie bank!

9. Wraps

Somewhere along the lines, we figured that wraps were a healthier, diet-friendly alternative to sandwiches. I mean, they look really green and fresh, it’s no wonder we assumed that.

Problem is, wraps are commonly equivalent to 2 slices of bread…just rolled flat and dense and filled with your typical fillings, sauces and more. Wraps are certainly a delicious hand-held way to enjoy your meal, but try asking for your wrap as a salad, instead. Most places are happy to accommodate, and you’ll save yourself the calories!

10. Multi-Grain Bread

When you’re trying to eat healthily and maintain your weight, when you’re shopping for bread it may seem like common sense to opt for the multi-grain bread instead of the white. Problem is, they’re still refined grains, and just as bad for you as white bread.


Instead opt for a 100% whole-grain bread, your body will love you for the extra fiber and healthy fats from seeds and more. While bread is still something that remains calorie-dense, it’s important to keep your portions in check with this, perhaps even by enjoying an open-faced sandwich so you only use one slice instead of two. Little tips and tricks can certainly go a long way!

11. Granola

Granola is a healthy food item that is also insanely delicious. Crunchy, nutty, sweet, it’s able to be it’s own breakfast or snack or used as a topping on your favorite yogurts.

Granola, however, is only recommended in small portion sizes. One cup of homemade granola rings in at around 600 calories! Try keeping your servings of it light, more of a sprinkling, and less than 1/4 cup. Even if you’d love to enjoy a whole bowl of it!

12. Nuts

Nuts are a fantastic natural source of healthy fats in your diet. Trouble is, they are really easy to snack on…excessively. One cup of mixed and roasted nuts (which is easily consumed in one snack sitting) comes in at over 800 calories. For many, that’s most of your daily intake gone in one shot.

Instead, opt for nuts in a way they can be sprinkled into your diet. Like crushed up into a sandwich, or sprinkled over your lunchtime salad, or perhaps choose just 5 individual nuts and put the rest away for another time.

Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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