Your beloved avocado toast contains more calories than you probably realise. So much so, it might be time to cut down, says a dietitian.

"Sure, choosing avocado instead of butter or wholegrain crackers instead of a packet of chips is a wise idea – but often these 'healthier' foods can contain more calories than you might think," says dietitian Melissa Meier on her website body+soul.

Cutting down on portion sizes might be the key to losing weight, not just swapping out foods for "healthier" options.

She compares some of these "healthy foods" and their calorie content with chocolate. Two squares or 20 grams of 70 per cent dark chocolate contains 491 kilojoules (117 calories).


In contrast, one avocado, the superfood we love to lather on toast and shovel down, contains 1379 kilojoules or 330 calories. Avocado is full of healthy heart-friendly fats, but that means it's very energy-dense, says Meier.

"So, instead of the whole avo that you're usually served at Sunday brunch, stick to just a quarter of an avocado per meal."

Compared to carbs and protein, which contain 17 kilojoules or 4 calories per gram, fat contains 38 kilojoules or 9 calories per gram.

"So when you've got pure fat – like olive oil – a little goes a long way.

"That's not to say it's not good for you, but pouring oil over everything like you're Jamie Oliver can send the calorie content skyrocketing."

Meanwhile, carbs aren't necessarily bad for you, she says – a slice of wholegrain bread has 537 kilojoules or 128 calories.

Opting for a wholegrain bread will give you long-lasting energy and good gut fibre, as well as other nutrients like B-group vitamins.

Cheese also has more calories than chocolate – two slices of reduced-fat cheddar cheese have 589 kilojoules (141 calories).


"It's probably no surprise, however, that I'm not talking about the creamy camembert you usually dig into on a Saturday afternoon," says Meier.

"Instead, I'm talking about reduced-fat lower sodium options like ricotta that provide protein for muscle growth and calcium for strong bones."

Peanut butter is another food that's rich in healthy fats and energy, as long as you go for a natural version.

Sticking to smaller portions is the key, she says – a tablespoon of peanut butter has 622 kilojoules (149 calories).

Meier isn't trying to say that chocolate is better than these healthy foods.

"I'm simply trying to demonstrate that being mindful of portions and understanding where calories come from is key for successful weight management.

"Of course, the nutrient-density of your diet is paramount, so focus on sensible portions of healthy core foods and a healthy weight should follow."