Here is an excerpt from ShopSmart magazine which identifies what we sometimes think of as “healthy” foods which aren’t so healthy. I find myself eating a lot of these foods as substitutes for my regular fare on Meatless Monday. Who knew???
- Vegetable Chips
Their colors may be mesmerizing and seemingly healthier than the standard chip, but they’re still high in calories and fat, and they don’t count as a serving of vegetables.
Try this instead: Have some air-popped popcorn or freshly cut-up veggies with some hummus.
Sweetened applesauce is loaded with sugar and calories, and it contains very little nutrients.
Try this instead: Go for the unsweetened version sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon. Or, better yet, opt for a whole apple. You’ll get extra fiber as a bonus.
- Granola Cereal
Granola is usually high in sugar, fat, and calories and relatively low in vitamins and minerals. It also contains a whopping 400 calories in an average cup. (This was very surprising…I love granola).
Try this instead: Have a bowl of an airy, oat-based cereal, like Cheerios, which topped ShopSmart’s test of kid-friendly cereals. For extra crunch and sweetness, add a sprinkling of granola on top.
- Trail Mix
Nuts can be a good source of heart-healthy fats, but some mixes contain calorie-laden dried fruits and even chocolate. One cup can contain almost 700 calories! (Did I mention I love granola in my trail mix!)
Try this instead: Air-popped popcorn is a good source of whole grains, and it’s filling.
- Turkey Hot Dogs
A lot of turkey hot dogs are surprisingly high in fat, and some contain even more than regular hot dogs. They can also be loaded with sodium and nitrates, so beware. (Not exactly appropriate for Meatless Monday but still noteworthy).
Try this instead: A turkey breast sandwich is a better choice. But if you’re really craving that hot dog, read packages and go for a turkey version with the least fat — and skip the bun.
- Wrap Sandwiches
These sandwiches can trick you into thinking you’re being healthier because the bread is thinner, but in reality, they are often made in a size that’s large enough for two people. ( Veggie wraps are were my one of my favorites).
Try this instead: Have a sandwich on whole-grain or whole-wheat bread. Fill it with lean meats and plenty of fresh veggies.
- Banana Chips
Yes, they are made from bananas, but they are typically fried in coconut or palm oil, which is ultra unhealthy.
Try this instead: Have a real banana. You’ll get lots of nutrients for half the calories and no fat.
- Bran Muffins
Many bran muffins are the over-sized and loaded with fat, sugar, and calories.
Try this instead: Have bran cereal with low-fat milk. Add some fresh fruit on top, and you have a healthy start to your day!
- Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt may be the most deceptive of all. It has more sugar and less protein and calcium than plain yogurt. Beware of bottled smoothies, too.
Try this instead: Choose a light yogurt that’s low in fat and calories or a Greek yogurt that has live, active cultures. Then, top it with some fresh berries.
Just like white pasta, regular couscous is a processed, refined grain with little nutritional value.
Try this instead: Buy whole-wheat couscous or opt for a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice.
Did any of your favorite foods make the list?
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