You simply wanted to have a few chips, then a few more, then a few more… “One chip is so small, it can’t have too many calories”….and then the entire bag of chips disappears. Does this sound familiar to you?
Here’s a reality check for you – even one small chip has a decent energy content of 11 kcal – you would need 3 min of walking to burn calories just from one potato chip!
Walking for 3 min isn’t a big deal, however, as it never ends up with having only one chip (as one has more and more), it can add up to many, many calories!
If you eat an entire 255 g bag of chips, you would need to walk for 6 hours and 6 minutes (!!!) in order to not gain fat from excess calories. Nobody wants to spend the entire day walking.
What about cookies?
“Why not have a few more?” – Isn’t this what your brain usually tells you?
You start with one cookie, then take one again, and again, and before you know it the entire packet is gone. It often helps me make better decisions when I put numbers on food consumption and its consequences.
Usually it is pretty doable to walk off one cookie, however, when you eat a bowl or a pack full of cookies, it becomes unrealistic. It’s not a problem to walk for 24 min to burn the calories of a chocolate chip cookie. However, if you eat an entire bowl with 6 cookies, you would need to walk for 2 hours and 24 minutes (!!!) not to gain fat from excess calories. Nobody has time to walk that much!
Even if you decide to go for the ‘better choice’ and eat a Lenny & Larry’s protein cookie (or any low calorie, sugar free, high protein cookie), you still need to walk over 1.5 hours, because one cookie has a total of approximately 360 kcal! The 180 kcal per serving that is shown on the package is the information for just half a cookie! But who even eats half a cookie?
Considering that there are only 16 g protein per cookie, which you could get in by consuming 20 g of protein powder and also getting fewer than 80 kcal from it, I think that having Lenny & Larry’s protein cookies is more of a treat than a ‘better food choice’. The same applies to many other protein cookies from different brands. Don’t let yourself be fooled! Read the labels and think what the number you see really mean.
Tip: You could use the information in the picture above as a rule of thumb to estimate your energy intake and how much you can have when you are having snacks at parties or somewhere out.
If you know that 1 potato chips is about 11 kcal and you have only 100 kcal left on your calorie budget, you then know that you shouldn’t be eating more than 9 chips.
And if you want to have some real protein cookies, without unnecessary calories, check out the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie recipe I created for you! Each cookie contains 32 g protein! That’s exactly the amount of protein you need to maximize muscle growth. Carbs and fat are kept reasonably low, so that you can even have it on a cutting diet.
Take-home message: Even crumbs and small pieces have calories. Eating lots of them makes you eating lots of calories, even if we sometimes try to repress all memory of it. If you really want to have chips and cookies, then go for home-made lower calorie, high-protein versions.
Article Credits – Anastasia Zinchenko (Elite Fitness and Nutrition Consultant at S.Q.U.A.T.S., and avid fitness blogger at www.sciencestrength.com)
All images used in the article are from Anastasia’s blog.