Many of us think we’re eating healthy. But the truth is that many of the foods we eat because we think are healthy, in reality are just jam-packed with junk you want to stay away from.
Let’s take a look at nine foods we think are healthy that are truly filled with all the stuff you should be staying away from and some healthier alternatives without any of the sacrifice.
We think of smoothies as a healthy lunch or breakfast option because they contain fruits and vegetables. However, some of these smoothies that you think are so healthy might actually have more calories than a cheeseburger. Smoothies can have as much as 500 to 1000 calories in them. This is primarily due to the fact that smoothies can contain an insanely large amount of servings of fruit, vegetables, added sugars, syrups, sorbets, ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc. Smoothies can contain more than triple the amount of sugar you are supposed to consume in one day.
Fix it: If you’re really craving a smoothie, it is best to prepare one at home on your own, using correct portion sizes and no added sugars and your favorite fruits a vegetables. There is no better way to know what you’re eating that by preparing a your own food.
Instant oatmeal is a breakfast favorite for many of us. The flavors are very tempting; brown sugar, peaches and cream, apple cinnamon...But these can easily be filled with refined carbohydrates that will have you feeling hungry in no time at all.
Fix it: Instead of instant oatmeal, make your oatmeal favorites from scratch. By mixing in some berries, bananas, cinnamon, you can get a hearty and delicious breakfast with less than half the calories and sugars.
Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
This may surprise you, but reduced-fat peanut butter is not necessarily a healthier version of regular peanut butter. Both regular contain about the same amount of calories. But get this, the reduced-fat version has more sugar. Regular peanut butter is a natural source of the good monounsaturated fats.
Fix it: Forget about that reduced fat peanut butter. Choose a natural peanut butter with no added oils or try Better’n Peanut Butter, a low fat, low calorie, low sugar, and nutritious alternative to peanut butter that still tastes just as good! You can find it at Trader Joe’s!
Meat is always an excellent source of lean protein. However, certain cold cuts are loaded with sodium. One 2-oz. serving of some cold cuts contains nearly a third of the recommended daily value of sodium.
Fix it: Be sure to buy low sodium cold cuts or opt for fresher meats.
Most people think dried fruit is healthy. However, dried fruit is often sweetened with added sugar. In addition, because the fruit is dehydrated, it doesn’t fill you the way fresh fruit does. It doesn’t help that the serving size of dried fruit is also significantly smaller than the serving size of fresh fruit. This leads to overconsumption of dried fruit and with added sugars too, the calories really do add up.
Fix it: Instead of eating dried fruit, enjoy fresh fruit. You’ll feel fuller and its a more nutritious option.
Yogurt Covered Snacks
We think that yogurt-covered snacks is a healthy option. But the yogurt coating actually adds sugar, saturated fat, and trans fat to an otherwise seemingly healthy snack and clearly don’t provide the nutritional value that yogurt does.
Fix it: Rather than going for those yogurt covered pretzels or raisins, opt for a Greek yogurt and top with fresh fruit and nuts.
Many energy, fiber, and protein bars are often closer to a candy bar and a healthy snack. We buy them because they are great sources of fiber and protein, but other than that, they are a chock full of sugar, fat, and carbohydrates.
Fix it: Next time you want to grab a quick snack go for an apple and a piece of low fat string cheese instead! If you’re on the go and just can’t help but take a bar at ease, try a thinkThin Protein and Fiber Bar, Fiber One Protein Bar or Kashi Granola Bar. These are among the healthier choices out there.
We think frozen yogurt is a much better alternative to ice cream. Sure, it has much less saturated fat than ice cream does, but the truth is that frozen yogurt is very high in calories and sugars. Then, we load our frozen yogurt with our favorite high calorie, sugary, fattening toppings, so is it really that much healthier? Nope.
Fix it: Craving something sweet? Be mindful of your portion size and don’t add any of those sweet, tempting toppings.
Although healthy trail mix is possible, most people grab the unhealthy kind without even knowing it. Most trail mixes contain candy coated pieces, yogurt covered raisins, deep fried banana chips, all aside from the nuts. In addition, the nuts are covered in sugar and salt, so just reaching your hand in the bag of trail mix even twice can provide up to 600 calories!
Fix it: Steer clear of this simple sugar, trans fat, and carbohydrate filled snack. Instead, buy the trail mix that only contains nuts, some dark chocolate, and maybe a dried fruit. Better yet, make your own trail mix at home with your favorite low sodium nuts and whole grain cereal.
So what do think about this list? Are you guilty of consuming any of these "healthy" snacks?
Next time you're in the snack isle, be careful when choosing your favorites. Read labels and pay close attention to what's really inside. But try out some of the healthier versions whenever possible.