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Here’s What 2,000 Calories Actually Looks Like

Here’s What 2,000 Calories Actually Looks Like

Think you’re good at guessing how many calories you’re eating when you pick up a dessert or snack? What about your favorite Starbucks order? Store chains are increasingly providing nutrition info for the foods they sell, which had traditionally been tucked away in easily-ignored pamphlets or not provided at all. Hopefully, this will make us make smarter choices at fast food chains, coffee shops, restaurants, and other venues where the food typically doesn’t come in packages with nutrition labels. This isn’t universal, however, so we still have to play a guessing game now and again with our meals and snacks. Or maybe some people just don’t want to know; ignorance is bliss, and all that.

The healthy choice initiative is part of an increased effort to get us to eat close to the USDA’s recommended calorie intake for the average person, about 2,000 calories. This calorie amount is the best amount for most people, but not all, as your body can require more or less depending on your height, activity level, and other factors. So, for the average person, what would their recommended daily intake look like if it were represented in everyday foods?

Below are images of what 2,000 calories of common drink and food items actually looks like. Which would you choose?

5.7 bagels, about 350 calories each

(Source: CalorieCounter.com)

FYI: Store-bought bagels are often on the lower side of calorie counts, but they’re still heavier than a typical slice of bread. Get your bagels from a bakery or cafe, where they’re usually larger and denser, and you’re likely eating a lot more for something you might’ve considered a snack or light lunch.

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    2.5 Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salads, 780 calories each

    (Source: Wendys.com)

    FYI: Pre-made salads give the illusion of being healthier alternatives, but are typically loaded with dressings and high-sodium, high-calorie ingredients that take away the point of having a salad. This one from Wendy’s is more than a third of a typical recommended calorie intake for a day! Skip the pre-made and go for the homemade, you can choose better quality ingredients and tweak the calorie count to fit your daily meals.

      20 medium sized apples, 100 calories each

      (Source: USDA)

      FYI: The average apple is around 80-100 calories each and has lots of fiber, making it a good choice for a snack or addition to a meal. You’d have to eat a lot of these to get up to 2,000 calories in a day!

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        2.3 McDonald’s Large Chocolate Shakes, 560 calories each

        (Source: McDonalds.com)

        FYI: No surprise to anyone, I’m sure. However, McDonald’s classic “triple thick” shakes, which these McCafe ones replaced, were a lot more calorie-wise. So, at least you could try to justify one of these with that fact.

          12 non-light beers, about 156 calories each

          (Source: Fermentedly Challenged)

          FYI: One or two beers won’t tip the scales too drastically, but if you’re pounding them back every weekend, you’re looking at a good chunk of calories that aren’t even food.

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            4 Jamba Juice Large Razzmatazz Smoothies, 500 calories each

            (Source: JambaJuice.com)

            FYI: Most of Jamba Juice’s drinks are just large amounts of sugar and calories marketed as super healthy. It only takes four of an average Jamba Juice smoothie to reach your daily calorie recommendation.

              3.33 1 cup servings of granola, around 600 calories each

              (Source: NutritionByEve)

              FYI: Another food that most people think is a healthy alternative but actually isn’t is granola, or at least the store-bought kind. It often has additives and fillers, and few people stick to the typical 1/4 cup serving size. Granola can totally be healthy or even low-calorie if you make your own.

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                5.4 Starbucks Grande Espresso Frappucinos, 370 calories each

                (Source: Starbucks.com)

                FYI: Thought Starbucks is now providing calorie counts on its in-store menus, some people may choose to look the other way rather than find out how much their daily drink is adding. If you’re trying to cut back on a high daily intake, consider this first.

                  333 stalks of celery, 6 calories each

                  (Source: USDA)

                  FYI: While celery is super low in calories, it’s largely made of water and doesn’t have all the vitamins you need. Make sure you’re eating plenty of other veggie varieties.

                    Featured photo credit: Bagel Factory/Benny Lin via flic.kr

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                    Last Updated on May 25, 2019

                    20 Spaghetti Squash Recipes For Anyone Who Is Looking For Delicious, Healthy Comfort Food

                    20 Spaghetti Squash Recipes For Anyone Who Is Looking For Delicious, Healthy Comfort Food

                    Spaghetti squash is similar to cucumber. It has a shell which is difficult to pierce and this hard flesh surrounds a hollow cavity filled with seeds. When you cook this vegetable, the squash flesh falls away from the inner cavity and only the reminiscent of spaghetti remains. You can get surprised and delighted to see how this vegetable transforms with cooking.

                    It can act as a great substitute to pasta. It tastes as delicious as the traditional pasta and is equally satisfying but healthier. It is gluten free and contains many nutrients like vitamin A, potassium and folic acid.

                    This incredible vegetable can be boiled, baked or steamed. And, a lot of recipes can be prepared with spaghetti squash as the chief ingredient. I’m sure the following recipes will make your mouth water.

                    Breakfast

                    1. Spiced Coconut Squash Breakfast Porridge

                    1

                      This unconventional porridge, prepared for breakfast, is a perfect dish to start your day. The ingredients include spaghetti squash, organic coconut milk, ginger, coconut flour, maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla extract. It has a comforting and creamy texture and is best served with fresh fruit topping. (Click here for recipe)

                      2. Egg and Avocado Spaghetti Squash Boats

                      2

                        If you’re looking for a light, healthy, gluten free, vegetarian breakfast then avocado spaghetti squash boats is the best option. Besides chopping the squash, breaking the egg and slicing the avocado, this recipe doesn’t require much effort in its preparation. It tastes amazing with egg yolk and salsa and has a rich decadent texture. (Click here for recipe)

                        3. Spaghetti Squash Frittata for One

                        3

                          This frittata, if prepared perfectly, can be an excellent choice for a healthy meal. It is a combination of lots of spaghetti squash, a few white eggs, some red pepper for color and texture, few onions and garlic for flavor, and some fresh herbs for brightness. This dish is usually served large in size and tastes great with tomato sauce and bean balls. (Click here for recipe)

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                          4. Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Brunch

                          4

                            It’s a fast and easy breakfast that contains a poached egg and feta on a pre-roasted pile of spaghetti squash bed. The yolk from the egg floods through the scraps of squash underneath. It almost tastes like an Italian pasta and the light crumble of feta adds more calcium and protein. (Click here for recipe)

                            5. Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

                            5

                              A very healthy take on hash browns in which spaghetti squash is used in place of potatoes and coconut oil in place of butter. This reduces stress, inflammation and starch, making it healthier than traditional hash browns. It helps lose water weight as well which is helpful for weight loss. The final product is fluffy on the inside but crispy on the outside. It is best served alongside some dippy eggs. (Click here for recipe and image source)

                              Lunch

                              6. Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

                              6

                                Spaghetti squash can not only replace Italian pasta but it can also replace the Chinese noodles. They are a delicious, satisfying dish, prepared by stirring and frying spaghetti squash with a rainbow of other vegetables along with a sweet smelling mixture of fish sauce, rice vinegar and soy. They are gluten free and grease free which makes them healthier. (Click here for recipe)

                                7. Parmesan Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts

                                7

                                  This dish is a marvelous combination of garlic, spaghetti squash, parmesan, toasted pine and zucchini nuts. It’s super healthy, gluten free, full of vegetables and delicious. Tossed with olive oil, this dish meets all the dietary needs and is perfect for light lunch. You can also add some chicken to increase protein.  (Click here for recipe)

                                   8. Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms Parmesan

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                                  8

                                    Though spaghetti squash provides low calories, you can add meaty mushroom and a good amount of parmesan cheese to increase the amount of calories. It’s a healthy, full of flavor, vegetarian dish, and has cheap and easy ingredients which you can find in market. The final product is yummy and satisfying and can make your lunch, perfect.  (Click here for recipe)

                                     9. Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Fire-Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce

                                    9

                                      A pile of roasted squash is flavored with a sauce made from five ingredients. The vegan fire-roasted tomato cream sauce is made from the mixture of tomatoes, cashews, basil, salt and water. This spicy sauce makes it more delicious and some small amount of basil adds fresh green color and flavor. (Click here for recipe)

                                       10. Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash

                                      10

                                        Most of the dishes listed here are either Mexican or Italian. This recipe however will give you a fresh Asian feeling. To prepare this, all you need are spaghetti squash and peanut sauce, then by adding some ginger, lime and vinegar you’ll get one of the most delicious recipes. The texture of this dish reminds you of heavenly beaches in Thailand. (Click here for the recipe)

                                        Dinner

                                        11. Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl

                                        11

                                          This is the perfect kind of bowl that you want to have on a cold evening, sitting on a couch and watching TV. You’ll enjoy its lightly steamed veggies, allspice beans, and the strands of squash as well. It feels creamy but doesn’t seem too heavy. It’s a great dish with intense indulgence, with our best spaghetti squash, the warm beans, and the comforting steamed veggies. (Click here for the recipe)

                                          12. Spaghetti Squash Crust Pizza

                                          12

                                            As you already know, spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta, but this dish here shows how these chewy shreds can make a great stand-in for pizza. You can add anything like meat or veggies to the base which is bound with egg whites and flour. The end product is a great gluten free dish. (Click here for the recipe)

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                                            13. Spaghetti Squash Fried Rice

                                            13

                                              Spaghetti squash works as a good substitute to the cauliflower as the base of a fried rice. This recipe includes almost all of the usual ingredients of a fried rice. With green onions, eggs, peanut oil, and some garlic, this dish gives a unique texture that you can never find in your local restaurants. (Click here for the recipe)

                                               14. Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

                                              14

                                                If you’re looking for something delicious for the winter evenings, you’ll get fond of these cheesy spaghetti squash boats. To lighten it up, it is filled with tomato sauce, cheese, chicken sausage, parmesan and ricotta. You can easily complete its arrangement ahead of time and bake it before dinner. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                15. Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

                                                15

                                                  This Mexican inspired dish has spaghetti squash as a serving bowl and inside it goes enchilada sauce, chicken, cheese, black beans and other veggies wrapped inside a corn tortilla blanket. You can also use spinach in place of the corn and black beans. Topped with sauce galore, this dish can be served as a family fun meal.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                                  Dessert

                                                  16. Sweet Spaghetti Squash Kugel with Apples and Raisins

                                                  16

                                                    If you can afford spaghetti squash, coconut sugar, some eggs and few other ingredients, then this dish must be your cheapest choice. This noodle is a delight in all seasons. The addition of some apples and raisins results in its fruity freshness. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                    17. Spaghetti Squash Coconut Custard Pie

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                                                    17

                                                      With the fine sweetness from vanilla extract and coconut, this dessert can be a great hit among guests. The spaghetti squash drowns in an egg batter to make it lighter than a cream pie. You can play and experiment with the ingredients and see surprising results.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                                       18. Spaghetti Squash Cake With Cream Cheese Glaze

                                                      18

                                                        This desert will be a delicious treat to those who are a fan of carrot cake. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable with pleasant taste, lending fiber, potassium and vitamins. So, if you drape it in cream cheese frosting, you will end with this mouth- watering cake. This dessert has so many health benefits and is also great for a Thanksgiving dinner. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                         19. Spaghetti Squash Kheer

                                                        19

                                                          Kheer is a rice pudding made by boiling rice with cow milk and sugar. But this type of kheer replaces boiling rice with noodles swapped out of spaghetti squash and cow milk with coconut milk. By pouring some ghee, you can add necessary richness in it. It is healthier than traditional kheer and can act as a great dessert for your evenings. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                           20. Cinnamon Spice Spaghetti Squash Cake

                                                          20

                                                            By now, you must be surprised by the versatility of spaghetti squash. But your best surprise will probably come after you finish preparing this cake. This cake is a game changer. You’ll have the taste of lots of veggies like cinnamon, allspice maple syrup and ginger, all inside a single cake.  It’s a perfect treat for picky eaters. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                            Featured photo credit: Spaghetti Squash with Fire Roasted Tomato, Olive and Baby Spinach Sauce via commons.wikimedia.org

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