There are a lot of foods that masquerade as healthy foods and they’ve gotten away with it for awhile. I find that they are most commonly grab and go snacks. With more and more people showing an interest in healthier alternatives, the food industry has responded and we have seen an increase in “low-fat”, “all-natural”, and “high-fibre” food options. Be sure to always read the ingredients because even though something may be labelled as “high-fibre” doesn’t mean that it’s not also high in other unhealthy ingredients.
Here is a roundup of foods that you may think are promoting long-term health, but could actually have lots of added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy oils. If some of these foods are your favourites, try to make the switch to the healthier alternatives that are suggested.
1. Granola and protein bars
Most granola or protein bars are actually just chocolate bars in disguise. Next time you think about picking up a box at the grocery store, take a look at the ingredients and sugar content in each bar. Some granola bars are healthier than others so take a look at the ingredient list and try to pick one with fewer than 10 ingredients and with nuts and seeds at the top of the list. They should also have at least 5 grams of protein and plenty of fibre. You can also make your own granola bars so you know exactly what’s in every one.
2. Store-bought nut milks
Always make sure to check the ingredients on any store-bought nut milks that may find their way into your fridge. More often than not, they have fillers, emulsifiers, and preservatives that you really don’t want to be drinking. The only ingredients really needed to make nut milk are water and nuts. Try to make your own whenever possible. Here is an easy recipe for cashew milk with no straining required!
3. Pre-made fruit and veggie juices
Yes, they are full of fruit and/or vegetables but they are also full of sugar. Most pre-made juices have way more sugar that you should be consuming in a day and this will leave your sugar levels spiked and result in an energy crash an hour later. Try to make your own smoothies and juices and include lots of greens just a handful of fresh fruit.
4. Veggie chips
Vegetable chips really aren’t any better than regular chips. As soon as you fry anything in hydrogenated oils and add artificial flavours, you have an unhealthy food. It doesn’t matter if its beets, parsnip, or potato. Most brands use veggie powders to give the chips a vibrant colour and they are often heavily salted. If you’re craving the crunch that chips give, try making a cup of organic popcorn tossed with olive oil and a bit of sea salt.
5. Veggie burgers
Unless they’re homemade, veggie burgers really aren’t a healthy substitute for regular burgers. Many store-bought veggie burger patties are made of processed soy, gluten and grains, and little to no actual veggies. Next time you’re craving a veggie burger, look for ones with whole foods, like beans, whole grains, and seeds. You can also make your own and store them in the freezer so that you always have a healthy option on hand.
6. Rice cakes
Rice cakes are marketed as a low calorie snack but, just because they’re low in calories, doesn’t make them nutritious. They are low in pretty much everything else too, which makes it pretty comparable to eating cardboard. Also, many of the flavoured versions have artificial flavours and seasonings which can lead to inflammation.
7. Yogurt parfaits
The yogurt parfaits you see at a coffee shop may seem healthy, but they are full of sugar that will raise your blood sugar levels and result in you feeling hungry again an hour later. The flavoured yogurt, sugars in the fruit, and sweetened granola add up to more sugar than you need to start your day right. If you love yogurt parfaits, trying making them at home with plain, full-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, and homemade muesli or granola.
8. Trail mix
Don’t get me wrong, nuts and seeds are great for you, but store-bought trail mix often has more ingredients than just the nuts and seeds in the bag. The flavours that they are coated with are full of sugars and salts which counteract how great the nuts and seeds are. Also, a lot of brands also include dried fruits or chocolate of some kind which can raise the sugar levels even more. If you’re a big fan of trail mix, try making your own by mixing a few of your favourite unsalted nuts and seeds together.
9. Veggie Spreads and Dips
Always look at the ingredients on the package before purchasing dips and spreads. Even though certain dips like spinach or artichoke spreads may seem like they are full of veggies, they are probably rich in saturated fats from sour cream, cream cheese, mayo, and other cheeses. Also, store-bought dips are often filled with preservatives to make them last on the shelf longer. Try to make your own dips at home instead, such as hummus, other bean-based dips, or basil pesto.
10. Fat-free anything
I can’t believe that the fat-free trend hasn’t died off yet. We need healthy fats in our diet to help us digest fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K to keep our brains, cells, hormones, tissues, hair, skin, and nails healthy. Healthy fats also provide our body with a layer of protection, insulating our organs and keeping our core body temperature normal. Always opt for full-fat salad dressings, yogurt, and sauces.
Do you have other healthy swaps for these not-so-healthy foods?
10 Healthy Foods That Aren’t Really Healthy
March 26, 2019