In a world full of dos and don’ts regarding what you should and shouldn’t eat, it can get confusing and downright frustrating to know what is actually good for you. There are so many foods out there in today’s society that appear healthy and get marketed as such, but are really just loaded with unwanted sugars, salts and fats. Don’t be fooled by the list below, and take a look at the healthy alternative options noted.
It is hard to part with the idea that bagels are downright not good for us. In a perfect world, bagels would be the secret to weight loss (can you tell I love bagels?). In all reality bagels are equivalent to 5 large pieces of sliced white bread. Yikes. They are made with refined carbs that will send your blood sugar through the roof, and are an easy way to ingest 400 calories quickly.
The Alternative: Instead of going for a bagel slathered in cream cheese or sugary processed peanut butter, opt for the whole-wheat tortilla with natural nut butters or a clean meat of choice.
Store Bought Shakes and Smoothies
Two words: Sugar bomb. These smoothies and shakes are not only high in calories, but they are loaded with sugar. One average, one of these purchases contain about 450 calories, and over 100 grams of sugar. Their protein to carb ratios are not healthy either, which makes the idea of a recovery shake completely out of the question after a workout.
The Alternative: Make your own smoothies at home, and regulate the amount of protein, carbs, and sugar you add.
Fruit Flavored Greek Yogurt
There has been so much hype around Greek yogurt, and how healthy it is for you with the added protein it contains. When taking a deeper look into this craze, there are more sugar and unwanted calories in Greek yogurt than I ever thought possible. Don’t be fooled when you are shopping and see fruit flavored yogurt, and think it is healthy, because it probably has 5-6 tablespoons of added sugar. You are better off just indulging in a delicious cookie, as it will pretty much have the same effect on your blood sugar levels.
The Alternative: If you are an absolute yogurt lover, go with a plain and light yogurt. If you like it fruity, top it off with a handful of an organic fruit of choice. No processed sugars in this simple, and light snack!
Salads and Their Dressings
Just because you see the word “salad” does not make it automatically healthy. In today’s world, salads are loaded with fattening dressings, and sugary embellishments. Many times dressings are loaded with sodium, thickeners, and more additives than I can comprehend. Sugary top offs such as craisins (dried cranberries), candied nuts, and fruit can make this “light” meal turn into quite the calorie bomb.
The Alternative: Instead of a thick and fattening dressing, opt for a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar duo. Cut back on the fruity processed raisins, and go for a fruit higher in fiber like pears. Top with a small handful of raw nuts and enjoy!
Another one of my favorite childhood snacks is now marked as unhealthy, and full of salt. Pretzels are sometimes labeled “fat free” but don’t be fooled, as these little suckers are made with refined white flour, are high in sodium, and low in any vitamins and minerals that do a body good. Not to mention, they do not have an ounce of protein in them, which categorizes them as empty calories.
The Alternative: Get creative! There are a ton of small snacks (like pretzels) that will do your body good. Try hummus and carrots, apples with natural nut butters, or a small handful of raw nuts.
It is always hard to filter out all of the healthy foods with their mischievous counterparts that appear healthy as well. Do yourself a favor, and read labels. If there are a lot of added ingredients, and a high sugar count they are probably not the best snack option!