HMR Presents

A Dangerous Day of "Healthy Eating"

By: , SparkPeople Health & Fitness Writer

Meet Patty, a happily married mother of two school-age children who works full time at her company's information systems department. Patty has a plan to stick to 1,400 calories a day to lose weight. However, due to slick packaging and masterful marketing, Patty may not realize that many of her so-called "healthy food choices" are actually destroying her plan to lose weight.

Like Patty, a lot of us probably have a hard time always choosing the best option. Take a quick calorie quiz from HMR Weight Management here to see how you’d do selecting “healthier” options when dining out.

Let’s see how Patty would do as she goes through her day…

After staying up too late the night before, Patty starts her morning with a cup of caffeine-charged coffee to reboot her fog-filled brain. Flavoring it with a little sugar and half-and-half is more calorie-friendly than those expensive coffee shop concoctions anyway, plus it's all natural and only adds a few calories, she thinks.

  • 6 ounces black coffee
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2 packets sugar

Just then, the kids bound into the kitchen for breakfast. They pour sugar-coated, fruit-flavored cereal and milk into their bowls. Patty makes the decision to eat a healthier cereal of wholesome granola with skim milk.

  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup skim milk

After breakfast, everyone piles into the van. Patty drops the kids off at school, heads to the office, and gets straight to work. She spends the morning deeply immersed in several projects, so she's surprised when she glances at the clock and sees that it is already lunchtime. Patty had intended to pack her lunch the night before, but never got around to it, so she heads to the company's café to check out her options. There, she spots the chicken Caesar salad, which consists of chicken strips on a bed of romaine lettuce with various salad toppings, all tossed with Caesar salad dressing. She knows that's the ticket—low calorie and nutrient rich. For a beverage she opts for a soda, figuring just one little splurge won't hurt since her other food choices so far today have been carefully planned.

  • chicken Caesar salad
  • 16 ounce soda

Back on the job, Patty is approached by three of her favorite coworkers. They suggest heading to the local bar for happy hour after work. Although she hesitates, Patty doesn't want to forgo the fun and ultimately joins her friends. At the bar, she makes a conscious effort to keep her low-calorie meal plan on target. She nibbles on just a few crackers and cheese cubes, and orders a small glass of heart-healthy red wine.

  • 5 ounces red wine
  • 6 crackers
  • 3 cheese cubes

Upon arriving home, Patty is surprised by her husband, who has cooked a pasta dinner. Because he knows she's watching her weight, he used whole wheat spaghetti and topped it with a basil pesto sauce. What a thoughtful guy, she thinks, thanking him for the wonderful meal.

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto sauce

After she and her husband clean up dinner and put their kids to bed, Patty feels like she can finally relax and unwind. She really wants ice cream, but makes a wiser choice to reach instead for the frozen yogurt to boost her calcium intake.

  • 1 cup frozen yogurt

As Patty heads off to bed, she confidently thinks, "This healthy, low-calorie eating is a snap. I'm positive I hit my calorie goal or maybe even less. A few more days like today and I know I'll be one to two pounds lighter."

What would you guess Patty's calorie intake was for the day?

A. 1,389
B. 1,845
C. 2,542
D. 3,321

If you selected "C," you are CORRECT!


  • 6 ounces black coffee = 4 calories
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half = 40 calories
  • 2 packets sugar = 22 calories
    Total = 66 calories


  • 1/2 cup granola = 210 calories
  • 1/4 cup skim milk = 21 calories
    Total = 231 calories


  • chicken Caesar salad = 793 calories
  • 16 ounce soda = 208 calories
    Total = 1,001 calories

Happy Hour:

  • 5 ounces red wine = 125 calories
  • 6 crackers = 80 calories
  • 3 cheese cubes = 207 calories
    Total = 412 calories


  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta = 348 calories
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto sauce = 263 calories
    Total = 611 calories


  • 1 cup frozen yogurt = 221 calories
    Total = 221 calories

TOTAL for the DAY = 2,542

In today's calorie-filled food environment, it doesn't take much to go over your daily calorie allowance. Patty made a conscious effort to take in only 1,400 calories for the day, but was actually 1,142 calories over her goal. An effective weight loss tool that has been shown to assist with food selection and portion control is the use of meal replacements.

Meal replacements are a great option for people who struggle to count calories and watch what they eat and want to take the guesswork out of weight loss.

HMR Weight Management is a meal replacement program that’s been offered in hospitals and medical centers for 34 years. Every time you use an HMR Shake instead of a higher calorie meal or snack, you can save calories and get closer to your goal. (For a limited time, get free shipping on your first order of any HMR food. Use code SPARKFREE at checkout.)


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*Average weight loss for the Healthy Solutions at Home plan with phone coaching is 23 lbs. at 12 weeks, 28 lbs. at 26 weeks.

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