Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to counting calories. However, having a 10-calorie understanding of the foods you typically eat can help you with portion and calorie control.

PecanEvery calorie counts when it comes to dieting and the more savvy you are at counting calories, the more likely your healthy eating efforts will be successful. Short of carrying around a nutritional values book, it is impossible to know the number of calories in everything you eat. Unfortunately, calorie ignorance does not equate to weight-loss bliss.

The following is a list of 10-calorie portions, categorized into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The Good foods are mostly fruits and vegetables or foods that have more volume for fewer calories and will likely satisfy you before you overindulge. The Bad is a list of foods that are relatively healthy but have less volume and have a tendency to keep you eating – you know how hard it is to eat just one nut or one cracker. The Ugly is list of junk foods that offer little nutritional value and are high in fat, sodium, or sugar – these are the foods that are near impossible to stop even at a handful.

GrapesThe Good

1 large celery stalk
1 apple wedge (1/8 small apple)
1 navel orange segment
1 container sugar-free Jell-O snack
3 watermelon balls
3 grapes
3 strawberries
3 baby carrots
3 cherry tomatoes
10 Wheat Chex
11 fresh edamame (soybeans)
12 blueberries
16 pieces plain airpopped popcorn
18 roasted sunflower seeds
20 small roasted soynuts

Jelly beanThe Bad

1 Gummi bear
1 cashew half
1 pecan half
1 Wheatable cracker
1 small piece sugared dried pineapple
2 Skittles
2 small almonds
2 miniature jelly beans
2 Teddy Grahams
4 miniature marshmallows

The Ugly

1 Whopper (chocolate malted milk ball)
1 unfrosted animal cracker
1 peanut M&M Nacho
1 large Cheez-It
1 Tostitos chip
1 Sunchip
1 shoestring French fry
2 Fritos
2 baked Cheetos

The key to healthy eating is moderation. Pick and choose your snacks and portion sizes to fit into your diet plan. You can take advantage of the 100-calorie snack packs or you can assemble your own. Use the list above as a starting point.

Visit these websites for on-line calorie counters

Calorie Lab

My Calorie Counter

Calorie Control Council



Comments on "The 10-calorie reality check"

Ivy January 06, 2014 | 2:10 PM

Why do you consider 2 small skittles better than 1 peanut M&M? Why are wheat chex better than almonds or wheatables? Why are gummi bears put on par with nuts? Why are skittles better than sunchips? Sounds like you are VERY anti-fat, and quite sugar and frankenfood accepting. I would put the things that are ONLY sugar at the very bottom. The nuts should be moved up from them at the very least. Many would say the nuts should be on top.

Jen December 28, 2012 | 9:23 AM

I agree with Sam -- Pecans, almonds, other nuts aren't bad for you - they're real food! And sugar-free jello, while delicious, is low in calories because it's a bunch of chemicals in a cup. If anything, that's worse for your health long term than eating several pecans. People need to stop obsessing over counting calories and focus on eating REAL FOOD.

Sam June 19, 2012 | 4:42 PM

I'm sorry, but why do you have skittles and almonds listed in the same category? Almonds and other nuts are very good for you and can be eaten every day as part of a healthy diet. For a morning snack I will typically eat a small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit. Of course you need to watch how many of them you eat (and note that this is MUCH easier if you buy the unsalted variety), but they're nothing like skittles or jelly beans! Candy has ZERO nutritional value, offers no satiation, and is very hard to put down if you have a sweet tooth. My 2 cents.

Brie September 23, 2008 | 10:04 AM

Oooh-la-la!!!! That really puts things into perspective!!!!! I would rather have a small handful of blueberries over one lousy M&M!

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