Some “healthy foods” are actually not too healthy for us at all!
I get it. It’s tough to eat a healthy diet and maneuver through the excess of choices at the grocery store. It’s hard when so many options are thrown at you! Not to mention all the marketing you see on tv, in magazines, etc that sway our food choices. When we think we may be choosing something right for our bodies, it may actually be not good for us at all. This is all due to the fact that our food system has gotten so complex and confusing, it’s hard to tell what actually is healthy and what is not.
Here is a list of common foods that are promoted as being healthy, but they really may be sneakily sabotaging your healthy eating efforts!
- Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, is definitely an important part of a healthy diet. Yogurt is relatively low in calories, contains a good source of calcium which is necessary for strong bones and prevention of osteoporosis, and calcium has also even been linked to weight loss (!).
- Greek yogurt is especially healthy as it has a higher protein content than regular yogurt. Not to mention, yogurt also contains beneficial bacteria, probiotics, that support a healthy digestive system.
- HOWEVER, yogurt naturally contains sugar (called lactose). Most yogurts these days contain added sugars though, not to mention there are plenty of yogurts on the market with added fruit (that isn’t fresh, likely processed), added M&Ms or other treats, honey, etc which is all added on top of the sugar that is already in yogurt.
- Some yogurts contain as many grams of sugar as a soda!! Try to stick with plain yogurts (with no added fruit flavors, sweeteners, add-ons, etc) and sweeten it naturally yourself with FRESH fruit, a dash of honey, or cinnamon and stevia. You can even add dark chocolate shavings and make it a healthy dessert!
Try to limit these:
*keep in mind: recommended sugar amount is no more than 20 grams/day for women and no more than 30 grams for men… AKA if I ate one of these sugary yogurts I’d already be over the recommended amount for the entire DAY! Yikes!
Try to consume more of these:
Granola is high-calorie and can be packed with sneaky added sugars…be sure to read the labels and stick to a proper portion size! Remember, granola is more calorie-dense than cereal, so sprinkle a small amount over yogurt or add it to fresh fruit for a crunch…avoid making it a main meal like cereal! Granola tends to have a high amount of sugar from dried fruit like raisins or cranberries, honey or maple syrup, some contain chocolate chips, and other added sugars.
I love the way “Eat This Not That” describes granola:
“What happens when you take a bowl of oats, drown them in oil, cover them with sugar, bake them on a cookie tray? You get your average granola: highly delicious, highly caloric, highly likely to put you over your daily calorie budget in just one serving — and chances are you’ll munch through far more than a scant half-cup that makes up a single serving.”
Aka you have some oats and other ingredients, covered in excess sugar and oil to get it to stick together. Avoid these sugar-laden granolas and make your own instead!
Looks seemingly healthy with “flax” on the front…but it has a whopping 14 grams of sugar for just a 1/2 cup portion!
3. Chocolate Covered Fruit
Example: Dove dark chocolate covered blueberries.
Ingredients: Sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, skim milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, artificial and natural flavors), blueberries, sugar, confectionary glaze, maltodextrin, corn syrup.
First off, there are FOUR different types of sugar added to this already sugar containing food. Even though it’s promoted as “dark chocolate” this is not the antioxidant-filled dark chocolate that you are thinking it is. There is still plenty of added sugar and milkfat, making this more like a darker-colored milk chocolate. Sugar, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, articifical and natural flavors, sugar, confectionary glaze, maltodextrin, and corn syrup are all UNNECESSARY additives to this product. Why add sugar 3 different extra times? They want you to like the taste and keep on buying it… “thinking” it’s healthy for you, when reality it is just a bunch of sugar. Yes, the blueberries are real, but they are covered with sugar, sugar, and more sugar.
- Also, research has shown that people will consume more of foods marketed as “healthy” or perceived as healthier. So, you may be eating more of these due to the fact that it says “dark chocolate covered” thinking they are healthier, when in it is a sugar snack with little to no nutritional value.
What to do? —–> Make your own healthy alternative!
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or coconut butter!), melted
- 2/3 cup cacao powder
- 2 tbsp raw honey/agave nectar/maple syrup
- 4-5 drops stevia
- dash of vanilla extract
- dash of sea salt
♥ Melt coconut butter or oil on the stovetop or in microwave, just until melted. Do not overcook. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix well until chocolate is made. Drizzle over frozen or fresh fruit and stick in the fridge or freezer for a delicious no sugar added dessert with nutritional benefits.
Way healthier! Yum! ↑
4. Pre-packaged smoothies (ex. Odwalla)
First off, Odwalla products are made by COCA-COLA. Just let that sink in for a minute…These smoothies are bright, with pictures of fresh fruits/veggies on them, making you think they are a healthy option, and yet they have more sugar in them than a doughnut, a 12 oz Coke, a small slice of cake, etc…1 bottle of a typical Odwalla, “Citrus C” for example, has OVER 50 GRAMS OF SUGAR. That’s over 10 teaspoons of sugar! Do you really this these are healthy for you? Not so much. They are high calorie and packed with sugar for just 1 drink (that’s almost like eating an extra slice of cake every time you drink them!)
5. Protein Bars and other “Fitness” Foods
Once again, a study showcased fitness-targeted foods are seen as “healthier”, so dieters tend to eat more; Click here to read the study.
If participants are only working out a small amount and then eating more of these “fitness foods” that aren’t even healthier, it could result in significant (unintentional) weight gain.
Try to stick with protein bars that are around 200 calories or less, have at least 10 grams of protein, more than 5 grams of fiber, and 10 grams or less of sugar.