As if it isn’t already hard enough to make healthy choices, marketing execs at food companies further complicate the challenge by spending millions of dollars each year to convince us that junk food is really healthy. If your healthy diet isn’t yielding the results you’re after, take a closer to look to see if these imposters are sneaking into your diet!
- Granola. Granola carries with it healthy connotations, but in reality it can be little more than a crumbled up oatmeal cookie filled with plenty of added sugar. The Real Deal: Try an easy DIY homemade granola by toasting nuts, unsweetened coconut, and oats together. Add in spoonful of dark chocolate (85 percent cacao content or higher) to make it taste more indulgent while remaining healthy.
- Frozen Yogurt. Frozen yogurt is touted as ice cream’s healthier cousin, but all too often the two creamy treats carry a nearly identical nutritional profile as most flavored yogurts are crammed with added sugars and/or artificial sweeteners. The Real Deal: Opt for plain Greek yogurt and sweeten with fresh berries.
- Dried Fruit. Fruit is always healthy, right? Not so fast when it comes to dried fruit. Oftentimes dried fruit has added sugar. Even if dried fruits don’t have added sugars, they are still a concentrated of source sugar. While these sugars are from the fruit themselves instead of being added, the high amounts can still added up to way too much sugar hitting your system and causing blood sugar spikes and crashes. The Real Deal: Go for fresh fruit that hydrates and fills as you eat it to keep portions naturally under control.
- Protein Bars. Protein bars are built upon the premise that active people need them to keep them going. The problem is that most of these bars include loads of sugar, artificial fillers, and isolated ingredients that have been chemically extracted in a lab. The Real Deal: Get protein from lean meats, nuts, beans, and eggs. If you are looking for a portable source of protein, try bringing along a boiled egg.
- Juice. Juice is often promoted as a healthier alternative to soda. While it is true that juice is a better choice than soda, that doesn’t mean that it is healthy. Like dried fruit, juice can have added sources of sugar and/or be a concentrated source of natural fruit sugars. The Real Deal: Stick with drinking water and eating fruit. If you are looking for a better juice choice, opt for juices made almost entirely from vegetables with just a touch of fruit to sweeten them.
- Veggie Chips. The chip aisle of your local supermarket is filled with chips boasting all sorts of healthy ingredients: vegetables, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and more. Unfortunately the inclusion of these healthy ingredients does not change the fact that these chips are still largely processed, refined carbohydrates that have usually been deep fried. The Real Deal: Craving crunch? Try making your own popcorn at home. It’s easier than you may think, requiring just a few minutes on the stove top. Use coconut oil to grease your pan and reap the benefits of the minerals in Himalayan salt by using it to flavor your popcorn. You can also add even more flavor (and antioxidants) with herbs and spices!
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