There are infinite foods out there marketed as 'healthy;' but did you know that sometimes these so-called foods are anything but healthy? If you choose to eat these foods as a regular snack, be aware you may be hindering your weight loss progress.
Don't be fooled by the gimmicky labels and titles, or what you believe must be healthy. Always check the labels before consuming. Here are 8 foods that are seemingly healthy, but really aren't.
Nuts & Dried Fruit Trail Mix
Ah! Trail mix, seems healthy right? You've got nuts and dried fruit. But, you have to be careful when buying a fruit and nut mix. Some trail mixes are great sources of protein, fibre and healthy fats. But, the reality is that most are full of sugar and salt. Dried fruit is the worst culprit as it is loaded with sugar and nuts are usually covered in salt. Your best bet is to buy a mix that has all natural dried fruit and nuts, without the chocolate and sweet add-ins. (Come on, did you really think M&M's were part of balanced diet? Didn't think so.)
I love a good smoothie. And, if you follow me on Instagram, you know my obsession with green smoothies. But, if you aren't making your smoothies you could risk sipping on something that is a sugar bomb. Even though they may be primarily fruit or vegetable-based, many pre-packaged smoothies will have added sugar and not-so-great-for-you ingredients to give them a better taste. Some of these seemingly healthy smoothies can even be over 600 calories per serving. If you want a smoothie, make one at home. This way you can control what goes into it and getting the most optimal nutrition out of it.
We all know oats are good for us, but eating the flavored instant oatmeal isn't the same as eating a bowl of oat bran, whole rolled or steel cut oats. Unfortunately, the flavored, instant oats are filled with sugar and sodium, not to mention artificial flavors. Added sugars is a no-no, particularly at breakfast time when your body is craving vital fuel to keep you going for the rest of the day. If you want to sweeten up your oatmeal, add greek yoghurt and cut up fruits to steel cut or whole rolled oats; or use a natural sweetener like stevia and monk fruit. I love making overnight oats they are super easy and delicious.
This is where most people make their mistakes when it comes to salads because the tastiest salad dressing is usually filled with sugar, vegetable oils and fats. Not to mention the artificial chemicals. The best rule of thumb for salad dressing is to make your own. The simplest is lemon juice and oil or balsamic vinegar and oil. Two of my favorite dressings are: Lemon Vinaigrette and Raspberry Poppy Seed.
Nut butters are amazing for you, except if they've got more than two ingredients. If you buy your butters from large supermarkets, be aware of added sugars, artificial flavours and salt. Ideally, the only ingredients should be the nuts, and maybe some salt if you prefer that. I love Justin's and Santa Cruz Organic brand. These two brands are as natural as they come. And, the cool thing is that Justin's makes the individual squeeze packs.
I'm not an "ice cream" kinda of person, but every now and then I crave a cup of Pinkberry or fro-yo. I'm sure you've roamed down the ice cream isle and decided to be "good" and pick up the frozen yoghurt instead of the Jerry Garcia Ben n Jerry's ice cream? Comparing the two with saturated fat, the yogurt will win. However, if you look at the calories and sugars frozen yogurt has, it can be shockingly similar to the ice cream. Once you start adding your favorite toppings to your "healthy" frozen yogurt, then it really drives up the calories (and sugar.) Many of the benefits of yogurt come with the live cultures within it, and lots of frozen yogurt is made using heat-processing which kills off those cultures. Try to find one that still has the cultures in it. Butter yet, for a healthy frozen sweet treat mix plain Greek r Icelandic yogurt with a splash of all-natural vanilla extract a sprinkle of sweetener or a drizzle of all natural honey. Mix it well and freeze for about 30 minutes. Top it with fresh fruit and enjoy!
There has been plenty of positive hype about bran because it is so good for your heart health and digestion, so naturally bran muffins should be amazing for you right? Wrong! It's not the bran that is the issue, but all the other ingredients within the muffin, primarily sugar and fat. If you looked closely at the ingredients and calories in a bran muffin you will understand it's not that different from eating a double chocolate one, depending on the size of it. If you usually eat these muffins as a quick breakfast, a great alternative is to bake your own morning muffins. Need some ideas? I love the collection of healthy muffins my friend Leah from AskLeahRenee.com has on her site.
There are so many drinks out there labeled as being filled with fibre, vitamins and even pro-biotics. But, are they even that good for you? Chances are if it has more than two ingredients you are just consuming empty calories and are usually filled with artificial sweeteners if they are labelled 'sugar-free'. Stick to water instead. If you don't like plain water infuse it yourself with some fresh fruit. Brands out there link Hint are a great choice, too.