Are you watching your calorie count? According to research by Alexander Chernev, an associate professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, “Those most concerned with their weight are also more likely to underestimate the calorie content of a meal.” Counterintuitive? Definitely. Chernev explains the implications of his study by saying that dieters are, therefore, “more likely to overconsume and consequently more likely to gain weight.” Instead of lamenting Chernev’s studies, do something about it! Make your grocery lists with calories per serving next to each item so that you can better track your caloric intake and achieve weight loss goals.
How to Make Your Calorie-Counting Grocery Lists
Caloric grocery lists work the same as regular grocery lists, except that before you hit the grocery store you should jot down the expected number of calories in each item on the list. This will not only make you more cognizant of your caloric intake in general and educate you regarding the calories of each food, but it will also train you to always double check your food labels before buying a certain item. You never know, a food that you always thought was low calorie actually could be higher in calories than a healthier alternative.
Resources to Find Calorie Contents per Item
So how do we find accurate calorie counts before we hit the grocery store? Luckily, there are plenty of food databases out there that allow you to see the average number of calories per item (per serving) so that you can do your research before you hit the aisles. For example, Livestrong.com provides a library of over 1,557,800 foods to help you more accurately count calories. Madelyn Fernstrom, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburg prefers SparkPeople calorie counter because of its goal range for calories and macronutrients. This tool has an enormous database of foods with accurate nutritional data, much of which is retrieved from the USDA’s food data and verified user submissions. You can also check out your favorite brands online and view their nutritional content and calorie counts.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Configuring Calories
When you get to the grocery store, don’t simply compare two items side by side, glance at the number of calories, and pick the one that’s closest to your researched calorie goal, as listed on your grocery list to print. Instead, make sure that you’re comparing your items based on calories per serving size. One box of cereal may list calories based on a 1/2 cup, while another may list calories of 1 cup. Some products try to “trick” the consumer into thinking the calorie count is lower by minimizing the serving size. Additionally, don’t simply analyze the number on the box. Look at the ingredients list and try to steer clear of products with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or preservatives. Sometimes the lower calorie option isn’t always the healthiest one.
After analyzing the items on your caloric grocery list to print, going shopping, and repeating the process, you’ll be able to better gauge your caloric intake on a daily basis and, with some exercise, achieve your weight loss goals.