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I Can’t Believe How Many Calories Are in That Food!

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I Can't Believe How Many Calories Are in That Food!

As Americans, we are so accustomed to large portion sizes and high-calorie foods that we often don’t realize just how many calories we are consuming. Here are a few food items to test your calorie level knowledge.

There are many things that can affect weight such as hormones, age, stress, and metabolism to name a few. We can offer advice and suggestions to help with food cravings, emotional eating, and increasing metabolism, but ultimately weight loss success comes down to one important thing. Calories. I know this isn’t something new and it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it is the truth. The biggest problem is that most people don’t know how many calories are in certain foods that they eat every day and how quickly they add up.

Prime Rib

Everyone loves a steak once in a while and don’t worry we wouldn’t dream of telling you not to have it. The problem lies in how much we eat. An average serving of Prime Rib or other steak is about 8 ounces. This is not a huge steak and will appear very average on your plate and yet it will cost you about 600 calories. Add in the baked potato with fixings and you are up to a 900 calorie meal.

Tip: when eating steak have a 4-ounce portion size and fill your plate up with veggies so you can enjoy your steak and not pile on the calories.


Do you ever run into Starbucks for a coffee and a quick scone for a snack? Many people do this and it can become habitual. The pastries and bread in the case look too good to pass up! One of those Starbucks scones will cost you about 450-500 calories- equivalent to an entire meal. Add the latte and you are now up to about 700 calories. A good rule of thumb is to keep snacks between 100-200 calories- you can see that a coffee and scone at 700 is far too many calories.

Tip: skip the scones, pastries, and doughnuts. Keep a healthy snack with you like some trailmix or granola bar.


It seems like just a little bread, but bagels have grown in size over the years. A standard serving size of a bagel used to be 2 ounces but now the marketplace bagels weigh up to 6 ounces, provide 360 calories and count as 6 servings of grains (70 grams of carbohydrates!). Once again, this is something we would typically grab as a snack or part of our breakfast and provides a lot of calories for one food item.

Tip: Eat half of a market place bagel or buy store bought bagels that are 2 ounces in size.

Taco Salad

This always seems like it would be the best choice at a Mexican restaurant. After all it is a salad! Not quite. A typical fast food taco salad will cost you about 800 calories.

Tip: a chicken soft taco at a fast food restaurant is only around 200 calories providing a better choice.

Restaurant Sandwiches

This can be a good choice but beware of specialty sandwich shops! The original turkey sandwich at Schlotzsky’s Deli will cost you around 763 calories.

Tip: Avoid specialty breads such as foccacia and rolls. Stick with regular bread and ask for a light amount of mayonnaise or whatever spread that they use.

On average, it takes about a 45 minute, moderate paced walk to burn 250 calories so you can see it is much easier putting the calories in than expending them through activity. Learning about calories and paying attention to portions sizes is the number one way to win at weight loss.


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About the Author

Picture of Meri Raffetto, RD, LDN

Meri Raffetto, RD, LDN

Meri is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and specializes in weight management and heart disease. With more than 10 years experience in nutrition counseling has helped people make positive lifestyle changes to improve their health. Since becoming a dietitian, she has been involved with nutrition research studies and has worked in many specialized areas of nutrition such as weight management, heart disease, alcohol recovery, and eating disorders. She has provided nutrition counseling for professional athletes training at Titan Sports Performance Center in Santa Barbara, CA and has developed nutrition programs and education manuals for hospitals, private businesses, and corporate wellness. Additionally, Meri publishes a monthly newsletter for and has contributed articles to Santa Barbara Fitness Magazine and Santa Barbara News Press' Woman Magazine. She has been interviewed by multiple radio shows and featured in Healthy Living Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. She lives with her husband in Temecula, CA where she enjoys hiking, reading, writing, occasional rock climbing, and, of course, cooking!

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