Yogurts. Multi-grain bread. Prepared salads. Energy bars. 100% “real” juices. What do all these foods bring to mind? Healthy foods! But is it really? Well, read on to know more.
Let’s analyze the list of foods that we regularly eat when opting for a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Constantly on the go, no time to prep for a salad at home? What do you do? Order a salad! There is any number of cafes, restaurants catering to healthy food right? And since it’s just a salad, obviously it’s got to be healthy foods, right? Wrong. Prepared salads, especially non vegetarian are often loaded with hidden fats and calories due to their high mayonnaise content. While a lot depends on the portions and ingredients, a chicken salad can contain as high as 700 calories.
Terms like “multi-grain” and “whole-wheat” may sound healthy but they may not contain heart-healthy whole grains and have refined grains. How can you be sure? So, Read nutrition labels carefully. If the first flour in the ingredient list is refined (it will usually say bleached or unbleached wheat flour), you are NOT getting 100% whole grain bread.
You’d think what can probably be wrong with something as simple and basic as yogurt? Well, here’s a reality check. Sugar, milk powder and hydrogenated oil are the main ingredients for a “healthy” yogurt. They actually add sugar, fats and trans fat to your system. For a healthy foods option, go for sugar-free plain Greek yogurt and stir into it some fresh fruits or nuts. A tasty alternative that will satisfy the hunger pangs as well as taste buds.
Protein powders and shakes:
We’re okay adding a little protein to our breakfast smoothies but not necessarily from a chemical based powder. In fact, protein from food sources, example tofu, flax seeds or nut butter is often of higher quality, you can digest it easily, and taste better than the powders. At the same time, you also avoid risking an overdose of protein intake, which can affect your kidneys and liver.
We think that energy bars work perfectly as a pre-workout snack, right? Not always. Most energy bars fill with artery-clogging saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup that clogs the arteries and added sugar. Plus, some bars, especially ones that claim to substitute meals contain more than 350 calories per bar, a bit more than “snack size” for most people. Instead, replace them with healthy foods a handful of assorted nuts like almonds and raisins. They’ll do the job minus the added sugar and fats.
Oatmeal can be a great whole-grain energy source. Or it is sweet bowl of refined carbs that leave you starving when it is barely mid-morning. Usually, the primary oatmeal culprits are the refined instant varieties that are low in protein and fiber and have added sugars. Instead, choose instant oatmeal where the first ingredient mentioned is steel cut oats, whole oats or one that has at least 4g of fiber and 5g protein per serving. Another good sign—there’s no mention of added sugar or it’s at the end of the ingredient list, which means a minuscule amount and it is healthy foods for you.
Packaged/canned fruit juices:
This so-called 100 % real juices are the worst in the healthy foods category. Firstly, they infuse your blood stream with ridiculous amounts of sugar and secondly they can never be compared to the goodness of nutritious and fiber-rich fruits. Neither are they very filling, so a person is tempted to drink large amounts to feel satisfied nor do they contain the requisite amount of nutrients that whole fruits do. The age old proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” holds amazingly true even today.
Eating healthy is not a short term diet. It’s a long-term lifestyle change. Love yourself enough to live a healthy life. As they say, Take Care of Your Body because it’s The Only Place You Have To Live.