Eating healthy but still gaining weight can be frustrating. Some foods marketed as healthy are actually causing those extra pounds. From granola to smoothies, these seemingly good-for-you options can be loaded with hidden calories. Take a closer look at 15 “healthy” foods that might be sabotaging your diet.

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Savory Tart Cherry Granola
Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Packed with sugar and calories, granola can quickly turn a healthy breakfast into a calorie bomb. Those crunchy clusters, often mixed with honey and oil, can be sneaky diet busters. A seemingly small portion can have more calories than a bowl of sugary cereal.


Blackberry smoothie recipe in a glass topped with frozen blackberries.
Blackberry Smoothie. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Store-bought smoothies often contain added sugars, fruit juices, and high-calorie ingredients like yogurt and nut butters. They may seem healthy, but some can pack as many calories as a full meal, especially those labeled as “meal replacements.”

Trail Mix

Nuts and seeds in a bowl on a wooden table.
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Loaded with nuts, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate, trail mix is calorie-dense. A small handful can quickly add up to a lot of extra calories. It’s designed for hiking, so if you’re snacking at your desk, those extra calories add up without the physical activity to burn them off.

Flavored Yogurt

A bowl of yogurt and a plastic container on a table.
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Flavored yogurts often contain as much sugar as a candy bar. The fruit at the bottom or those sweet mix-ins can turn a healthy probiotic-rich snack into a dessert-like treat. Opting for plain yogurt with fresh fruit is a smarter choice for a truly healthy snack.

Whole Wheat Bread

Assortment of bread.
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Even whole wheat bread can be calorie-dense and high in sugar. While it has more fiber than white bread, it’s still easy to overindulge on those seemingly healthy slices, especially when paired with butter or spreads.

Salads with Creamy Dressings

A bowl of cucumber salad on a table.
Creamy Cucumber Salad. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

A salad seems healthy until it’s drenched in creamy dressing. These dressings, often made with mayonnaise or sour cream, can add a significant amount of calories and fat to an otherwise light meal. Choosing a vinaigrette or using a light hand can make a big difference.


A halved Hass avocado with its pit on a textured surface.
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While avocados are full of healthy fats, they’re also high in calories. It’s easy to overdo it on the guac or add extra slices to your salad, turning a healthy snack into a calorie fest. Moderation is key with this creamy green fruit.


A bowl of mixed nuts.
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Nuts are nutritious but calorie-dense. A small handful is beneficial, but it’s easy to munch mindlessly and consume a lot of extra calories. Roasted and salted varieties can be particularly tempting, leading to overeating.

Nut Butters

Peanut butter and bananas on a plate.
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Nut butters, like peanut or almond butter, are often marketed as healthy, but they’re high in calories. A couple of spoonfuls on your toast or in your smoothie can add up quickly. Look for ones with no added sugar or oils to keep them as healthy as possible.

Energy Bars

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Marketed as a quick health boost, many energy bars are loaded with sugar and calories, making them more like candy bars in disguise. Ingredients like chocolate chips, honey, and dried fruits can make them a less-than-ideal snack choice if you’re watching your weight.


A supermarket shelf stocked with various juice bottles of different brands, colors, and flavors.
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Even 100% fruit juice is packed with natural sugars and lacks the fiber of whole fruits. A glass of juice can add a lot of extra calories without keeping you full. It’s easy to drink more than one serving, quickly adding up to a high-calorie beverage.

Gluten-Free Snacks

A person's hand selecting a box from a supermarket shelf stocked with gluten-free products, including cookies and snacks.
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Gluten-free doesn’t mean calorie-free. Many gluten-free snacks are made with high-calorie flours and added sugars to enhance flavor and texture, making them just as fattening as their gluten counterparts. Always check the labels for hidden calories.

Coconut Oil

A jar of coconut oil with a half coconut shell in the background.
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Coconut oil is often touted as healthy, but it’s high in saturated fat and calories. Using it excessively can contribute to weight gain. It’s best used in moderation, as part of a balanced diet, rather than as a primary cooking oil.

Dried Fruit

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Dried fruits are a concentrated source of sugar and calories. It’s easy to eat a lot of them without realizing just how much sugar you’re consuming. Unlike fresh fruit, the water is removed, so the sugars are more concentrated, leading to higher calorie intake.

Dark Chocolate

Lindt chocolate bars on display in a store.
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While dark chocolate has health benefits, it’s still high in calories. Eating too much can easily add to your daily calorie intake, leading to weight gain. Opt for small portions and choose varieties with higher cocoa content for maximum health benefits.

11 ‘Healthy’ Cooking Oils That Are Terrible for You

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We all try to make healthier choices, and cooking oils are no exception. But not all oils are as good for you as they seem. Some popular “healthy” options can actually do more harm than good. Here’s a rundown of some cooking oils that might not be as beneficial as you think. Try swapping some of these out for healthier alternatives like olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil instead.

Read it Here: 11 ‘Healthy’ Cooking Oils That Are Terrible for You

Avoid These 11 Foods That Are Secretly Packed With Sugar

A variety of breakfast items are displayed, including granola bars, dried fruit, granola, yogurt, and fruit sauces in bowls, all arranged on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.

We all try to make healthier choices, but some foods aren’t as wholesome as they seem. Hidden sugars can turn your favorite snacks and meals into unexpected sugar bombs. It’s easy to overlook how much sugar you’re actually consuming. Here are some foods that are secretly packed with sugar and what to eat instead.

Read it Here: Avoid These 11 Foods That Are Secretly Packed With Sugar

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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