The season of fresh food is upon us. At least here where the warm weather is already kicking into gear. However, there are plenty of spring foods that are traipsing about claiming to be “healthy” when they are anything but. Check out these 7 foods that are masquerading as healthy this spring.
7 Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods
- Smoothies. Who doesn’t love a smoothy on a hot day. They are a great pick me up when the heat has you down. However, be mindful of the of the fact that smoothies from most places are chalked full of sugar and extra calories. If you are crazing one try making it at home instead and tossing in some spinach or kale. Reduce the sugar by avoiding any extra processed juice and just simply add some water.
- Trial Mix. A great power snack on the go but store bought can have loads of extras that you don’t need. Be wary of any kind that is clumped together or sticky. Extra sugar causes Instead, a mix of nuts and dried fruits that has no added coating or sweeteners. You can also leave out the chocolate to keep it even healthier. If you really want to be sure of what is in your mix, purchase the ingredients separately and then mix them all up in a big bowl or jar at home.
- Salads. Next time you are at a restaurant check out the calorie counts on some of their salads. It can be absolutely incredible how quickly the calories add up. Croutons, cured meats, cheese, and fatty dressing pile on the calories and reduce the health benefits of the leafy greens. Instead, opt for a salad with chicken, minimal toppings, and a vinaigrette to keep the calorie count at bay.
- Anything “Fat Free” that isn’t supposed to be. In truth, “fat free” means high sugar, and overly processed. The number of people who purchase these foods still surprise me. From increased cardiovascular risks to the flat out chemicals used to make them taste half way decent, these foods are always bad news.
- Meat substitutes. Next time you are thinking of a tofu burger check out the ingredient list first. If you can’t pronounce half of what is in it, you probably should not put it in your body. If you really want to substitute try either a less fatty meat (hello turkey!), or something like a portobello mushroom.
- Flavored Yogurt. While there are definitely worse things these are generally high in sugar for the small amount of food you are actually eating. If you are a yogurt lover like I am try switching to Greek yogurt. They generally have less sugar and you get a dose of protein too. Even better get plain Greek yogurt and stir in your own small amount of fruit to control how much sugar you really are getting.
- Protein Bars. They are often nothing more than nicely packages candy bars. Most protein bars have the same amount of sugar as a candy, and more chemicals too. There are some great bars out there but you have to be diligent to read the labels and make sure they actually are healthy. Always stick with the general rule of being able to at least pronounce half of the ingredient list.
What other foods do you know are claiming to be healthy but aren’t? Sound off in the comments.