When it comes to navigating the waters of nutrition, it’s easy to get lost in all the conflicting information. What’s good for us? What’s not? The foods that most would think are good for you and are sometimes worse then some of the fast food out there. Here are the most common 5 foods that we all think are healthy and the true facts about their nutrition.
Salads have become a staple in many fitness-focused meal plans. And with the recent push for better health, you’ll find them featured on virtually every fast food and restaurant menu. It’s easy to assume we’re making a healthier choice when the foundation of this meal is comprised of lettuce, but it’s important to consider all components of the salad you are choosing.
Most salads all begin with a bed of lettuce, but then you pile on fried chicken (among other ingredients) and add a generous portion of salad dressing and you’ve got yourself a meal that contains over 1,000 calories. We’re better off eating a Big Mac at that point. A better choice would be a salad with dark, leafy greens vinaigrettes (on the side), lean proteins (e.g. egg, black beans, turkey), healthy fats (e.g. olives, avocado), and don’t be afraid to pile on a variety of vegetables.
We get it—making breakfast takes time. Granola, fiber, and protein breakfast bars are convenient for a quick snack or makeshift meal, but they’re not as healthy as we all think. First off, these little guys are typically loaded with sugar (not the best way to start the day) And while some claim high fiber, protein, vitamins, and other good-for-you nutrients, they’re usually added after the fact. If you’re looking to grab something quick before heading to the grind, grab a handful of nuts or a boiled egg with a piece of fruit.
Talk about starting your day off with sugar, if you are grabbing a glass of OJ first thing in the morning then you are doing exactly that. Here’s the deal with fruit juices: most of them contain added sugar. Even if your juice is 100% pure, your body processes natural sugar and added sugar similarly. Sure, fruit juice contains a good number of vitamins—but so does fruit, which is definitely a better choice.
Calorie-Controlled Packaged Foods
Portion control can be a key factor in managing calorie balance, we have all seen the eaten one of the 100-calorie pack items. If you’ve ever eaten one of these you may find they’ve left you unsatisfied. If you’re hungry and looking for an afternoon nosh, carbs are just fine—but you’ll feel fuller and avoid the crash by pairing them with protein and healthy fat. Try an old favorite: celery with peanut butter and raisins.
Sugar-free foods have expanded rapidly in the marketplace. If its too good to be true then it probably is. To mimic sweetness, manufacturers add sugar alcohols instead of actual sugar, which yields a lower calorie content. When your brain thinks it’s consuming sugar, the craving for sweetness continues until it’s had sugar—but sugar alcohol is not sugar. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a fix, go for the real thing (even better if it’s naturally-occurring, like fruit).
If you are trying to eat healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle be aware of these inconspicuous healthy foods. I hope this information on some of our go to foods will help you in making better food choices.