When it comes to losing weight and getting into shape, calories have become public enemy number one. Lots of people practice the use of ‘calorie counting’ - keeping track of the number of calories in the food they eat on a daily basis and deeming anything high in calorie content to be a no-go, but this can be misleading. Just because some foods are high in calories it doesn’t mean they aren’t nutritious. If we cut out certain foods purely on the basis of calorific content, then we’re missing out on other nutritional benefits. Here are 5 high-calorie foods that are actually good for you:
1. Dark chocolate
One that might raise a few eyebrows, but dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or above) is actually good for you. Well, in moderation anyway! Although it packs in more than 150 calories per ounce, dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids that can offer serious health benefits, including circulation, lower blood pressure levels, and positive effects on your mood. Dark chocolate also provides minerals, including calcium and iron. Go on, break off a piece!
The green, creamy fruit synonymous with a hipster brunch has become so popular in recent years that there was even feared a world shortage. Not only do they look great on a plate, but their health benefits are incredible too. Avocados are packed full of healthy monounsaturated fats, carotenoids and copper, potassium and folate, making them extremely popular for athletes. Their calorie content is high - around 250 for a regular sized avocado - but the nutritional benefits make it worth the consumption. Avocados are also extremely versatile; they’re great in smoothies, salads, as a substitute for fat when baking, and of course form the primary ingredient of guacamole.
Nuts are often dodged due to their high-fat content, but science has shown that when it comes to fat it’s quality over quantity. Possibly the best all-around nut to eat, pistachios are actually one of the lowest in calories and fats when it comes to nuts, plus 90% of said fat content is unsaturated. Pistachios are a great source of protein and fiber, and have a high satiety content, meaning that they can help you feel satisfied and full throughout the day. Studies have also shown that pistachio consumption can help reduce the risk of heart disease when combined with a low cholesterol diet. Another tip - choose pistachios that have been roasted in their shells, because the process of peeling off the shell forces you to slow down your eating time!
4. Olive oil
Like most oils, olive oil is very high in calories, providing a whopping 120 of them in just a single tablespoon. But that’s not the end of the story. Olive oil is also loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats - which helps to lower cholesterol - and provides an excellent source of antioxidants. The addition of olive oil in a meal can also help in the absorption of healthy nutrients such as vitamins A and D. Olive oil is also very versatile and can be used for everyday cooking, baking, and as a salad dressing. Also, a good quality olive oil makes for a delicious dip with soft, warm bread.
This one just sounds healthy. And… it is. Quinoa is a great example of a high-calorie food that offers so much regardless of that fact. The superfood seed contains a wide range of nutrients, notably protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Quinoa is also versatile - it can be cooked like rice and used as the base of salads or main meals, or it can be made into porridge for an early morning health kick.