By Olivia Tarantino
Sure, a pound of gold weighs as much as a pound of feathers—but did you know that a pound of spinach tallies up the same number of calories as less than one Reese's peanut butter cup?
You know calories count when it comes to weight loss, but a growing body of nutrition research is showing that where you get those calories could matter more than the number alone. For example, a 2016 study published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition found that the number of calories participants consumed was not able to predict how full the participants felt after snacking. For example, even though a square of chocolate has more calories than a couple cups of popcorn, studies show that participants report feeling more satisfied after eating the popcorn.
Here's another way to think about it: Would you feel like you got more fuel for your body from 26 pistachios or a mere 3 bites of ice cream? Both snacks are equivalent to 100 calories, but according to research, you'll likely feel more satiated after eating the handful of nuts.
So, don't be tricked into thinking you're doing your body a favor by choosing the 100-calorie bag of Oreos. Instead, turn to whole foods that are naturally high in hunger-quelling macronutrients—protein, fiber, and healthy fats—as well as hydrating water. You can also benefit from eliminating foods and beverages that provoke your cravings, like these 25 Foods That Make You Hungrier. To help you see how 100 calories differ between foods, we compiled a visual list below. Some will surprise you!
1. McDonald's Cheeseburger
100 calories = ⅓ McDonald's Original Cheeseburger
You'd only get through a few bites into your McDonald's cheeseburger before you hit the 100-calorie mark. Despite being fast food, this order isn't a deal breaker. Made with a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs, you'd be better off with this pick over a McCafe shake. For more insight into Mickey D's menu, check out our exclusive ranking of The Entire McDonald's Menu—Ranked!
100 calories = 25 Strawberries
An entire pint from the supermarket may not even be 100 calories! Feel free to stock up and fill up on this fiber-rich fruit.
3. Peanut Butter
100 calories = 1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter
Thanks to their high fat content, nuts are one of the most calorie-dense foods you can eat. (Hence why a single tablespoon will set you back 100 calories.) If you're looking for a great nut-based source of protein, check out our exclusive list of The 36 Top Peanut Butters—Ranked!
4. Potato Chips
100 calories = 9 Lay's chips or about ⅔ bag
The most disappointing part of learning that you won't even be able to finish an entire bag of Lay's before you reach 100 calories; it's that most of those calories come from the added vegetable oils the potatoes are deep fried in.
5. Cheddar Cheese
100 calories = 0.88 oz, a little over 3 cubes or about 1/9 block Tillamook Sharp Cheddar
Although you're only eating a little over 3 cubes of cheese, that serving size will also fill you up with 9 grams of healthy fats and 6 grams of muscle-building protein.
6. 2% Greek Yogurt
100 calories = 4.6 oz 2% Greek Yogurt or ⅔ container Fage
Greek yogurt is one of our favorite weight-loss foods for a good reason. For just 100 calories, you'll consume a whopping 13 grams of protein, the metabolism-stoking macronutrient. Fage's containers are, on average, bigger than what you'll usually find on supermarket shelves, so feel free to get their larger container and dole out a few scoops to your liking.
100 calories = about 23 pieces M&M Candies or 42 percent of one 1.69-oz bag
If we had our pick of candies, we'd likely tell you to go with M&Ms. Why? You'd get to eat 23 pieces for the same number of calories as a single Twix bar.
100 calories = 3 cups Air-Popped Popcorn
According to Penn State University researchers, low-calorie, high-volume snacks like popcorn will make you feel more satisfied after snacking than if you reached for a higher-calorie, smaller snack, such as chocolate.
100 calories = 8 fl oz Coca-Cola or ¾ standard 12 oz can
Sure, you get pretty close to being able to drink an entire can for 100 calories, but those calories are entirely made up of sugar—the insulin-spiking nutrient that causes your body to store fat instead of burning it. See just how bad soda can be for your health by checking out these 70 Most Popular Sodas—Ranked By How Toxic They Are.
10. Baby Spinach
100 calories = 1 16-oz package of Earthbound Farm Baby Spinach
That's right. An entire 16-ounce package of baby spinach is a mere 100 calories. Not only is the leafy green low in calories, but it's one of the richest sources of the antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which neutralize the free radicals that can damage cells and cause inflammation.
100 calories = 1 medium banana
Excluding the 21 Amazing Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Bananas, this tropical fruit is one of our favorite picks for weight loss because you can eat the entire thing for only 100 calories!
100 calories = 1 ⅞ Oreo Cookies
You may know that one of our 50 Best Weight Loss Tips is to always leave a bite behind, but leaving an eighth of an Oreo behind to only eat 100 calories? That's just cruel.
100 calories = 1 Tablespoon Butter
Make those calories count by picking up a grass-fed butter brand like Kerrygold. Made with dairy from grass-fed cows, this type of butter is full of fatty acids—like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—that crank up your body's calorie-burning centers.
100 calories = 4 fl oz, or ⅘ standard 5-oz glass of wine
You won't have to miss much when pouring a 100-calorie glass of wine—just cut out an ounce, which is less than a standard shot glass. Keep your waistline in mind as you're sipping by choosing one of these 16 Wines for Weight Loss.
15. Domino's Pizza
100 calories = ⅓ of 1 slice Domino's Hand Tossed Large, 14" Cheese Pizza (cut into 8 slices)
Everyone loves pizza. No one loves eating a third of a slice of pizza. This has to be one of the most disappointing 100-calorie servings on our list.
16. Grilled Chicken
100 calories = 2 ⅓ oz or ⅓ average piece chicken breast
Even a lean cut of meat like chicken is still calorie dense. A third of an average breast will get you to 100 calories. On the plus side, those calories also come packed with 20 muscle-building, metabolism-revving grams of protein. Talk about bang for your buck.
17. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100 calories = 2½ teaspoons or ⅘ tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We typically don't think twice about adding EVOO to recipes since studies have connected the olive oil to a healthy heart. However, keep in mind that the key to using oil while continuing to lose weight is moderation—especially since a tablespoon is around 120 calories. Use one of our 35 Tips to Cut 50+ Calories and break out a spritzer, such as a Misto. This tool makes it easy to mist your favorite oil on an entire dish without overdoing it.
100 calories = 5 teaspoons, a little over 3 tablespoons, or ⅕ 8-oz container Cedar's Hommus
Good news, hummus lovers! You can add another tablespoon to your standard serving and hit 100 calories. Made from a great protein source, chickpeas, hummus is also full of healthy fats and fiber.
19. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
100 calories = 91 percent of 1 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
You can't even eat an entire peanut butter cup if you're sticking to a 100 calorie maximum. Boo.
100 calories = 1¼ cups or 129 blueberries
For the same number of calories as a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, you could (try to) eat a staggering 129 blueberries! The antioxidant-rich fruit is one powerful inflammation fighter, thanks to the presence of anthocyanins, which is a class of flavonoids that effectively turn off inflammatory genes.
100 calories = ⅓ Avocado
For just 100 calories, you'll also be getting 10 grams of healthy monounsaturated fats, like oleic acid, which can actually help quiet feelings of hunger. That's not all: The same serving comes packed with 5 grams of digestion-slowing fiber! Here's a tip: Adding fatty avocado to your salad will help your body absorb more health-promoting micronutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
100 calories = 1 medium apple
Apples are not only an easily portable snack, but they're also powerful fat fighters. Their high fiber content—4.4 grams per medium apple—will help to slow blood sugar spikes and keep energy levels stable. Oh, and make sure you leave the skin on! Peeling it off means you'll only consume 2.1 grams of dietary fiber for the same sized apple.
100 calories = under ¼ cup uncooked elbow macaroni
Go with a smaller cut of pasta, such as elbow macaroni, if you're planning to keep your serving to 100 calories. A larger cut—like ziti or penne—will make it appear like you're eating a lot less.
100 calories = 25 baby carrots
At 4 calories a pop, baby carrots are a great pick when it comes to some of the best snacks for weight loss and better health. Not only are they low in calories, but they're also packed with 7 grams of fiber and 215 grams of water—nearly as much as an 8-ounce glass!
25. Ice Cream
100 calories = 8 teaspoons, under 3 tablespoons (think: spoonful), or 1/12 pint Ben&Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
Although fans go bananas for this flavor, you'd be nutty to eat more than a 300-calorie serving (which is just half a cup!). If you're trying to stick to 100 calories, you'd only be able to dig your spoon in three times. Luckily, you won't have to deprive yourself of all ice creams since this is one of the most calorie-dense frozen treats from the Vermont duo. Check out more waistline-friendly options in our exclusive guide, Every Ben&Jerry's Flavor—Ranked by Nutrition!.
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