On our usual stroll through the grocery store something wonderful in the health foods/supplement aisle caught Preston’s eye. It claimed to be a zero-calorie, all of my dreams coming true, chocolate peanut spread (basically zero calorie Nutella..ish). Quickly we snatched it off of the shelf to look at the nutrition label; there was no way this could be zero calories! But there it was: Serving size 2 tbsp, calories – 0. Upon further examination the two main ingredients were purified water and vegetable fiber, both of which are zero calories. Everything seemed to check out. We couldn’t wait to get home to try it. This could be a game changer in my diet; I was already planning to put it on everything I ate.
I wanted to crack it open in the car, but Preston convinced me to hang on until we got home. By the time we pulled into the drive-way our anticipation was at an all time high. I tried it first, and instantly my expectations, hopes, dreams, and happiness dissipated.This was not something that I would add to my diet regiment. Honestly, at first it was… unique?…artificial?…confusing?…and mostly really salty. The flavor was so bad that even being zero calories didn’t make it worth eating. So it will stay in the back of the fridge for eternity.
This is a valuable lesson: when something seems too good to be true, it is. To save calories you must sacrifice some flavor.
In most circumstances I don’t mind the sacrifice because I love maximizing the amount I get to eat. We don’t think that artificial sweeteners taste so bad. We don’t use butter or vast amounts of oil when we cook. We don’t even use sauce, outside of salsa, on our meals.I have even grown to like oatmeal sans the extra brown sugar. At the end of the day each of those additions and flavors will add calories onto your meal.
Don’t despair, here are a few easy tricks to combat your zero-calorie woes.
- Track everything. When you are tracking your food, you will know exactly where you are at in your daily goal. Tracking gives you the power to add a spoonful of sugar or serving of ketchup– given that you have made cuts elsewhere in your day.
- Measure everything. Tracking only works if you are measuring accurately. 1 serving of BBQ sauce is 60 calories. 1 serving is also only 2 TBS. Measure that out and decide if 60 calories is worth it.
- Use herbs, garlic, onion, and peppers. These low-calorie vegetables and flavors will enhance a dish so that you don’t need any extra toppings or additives. Find recipes and flavors that you love on their own. You can add a lot of onion and pepper to a dish for much less cost, both caloric and money-wise, than expensive sauces.
- Change your perspective. At the end of the day you will get used to “bland” flavors. I used to crave cheese, sauce, and pizazz; however, now I see the value and enjoy a simple meal with steamed vegetables and plain ground turkey. It is one of my favorites that we eat. Just keep going and soon you won’t even remember what you are missing!
Until a real zero-calorie peanut butter comes out, I will continue with PB2 and dream. If you want to try out this calorie-free falsehood, check it out at your local store. We found it by the supplements: Walden Farms Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread. Let us know if you try it!