Whether you’ve been eating healthy or want to start, we’ve got some tips for you so you can make sure the “healthy” foods you’re eating are actually good for you; not loaded down with disguised sugars and fats.
With so many “health” drinks out on the market today, how do we know which ones are doing more good than harm? While many have added vitamins and fiber, there are also many that come with extra sugars. Even if it has no calories, it contains artificial sweeteners which can be just as bad for your waistline. If they’ve got more than 1 or 2 ingredients, you’re taking your chances. Try keeping it simple with water, coffee and tea!
Pre Made Smoothies
That pre made or store-bought smoothie you think is so healthy may in fact have more calories than a cheeseburger! Smoothies can have as much as 650 to 1000 calories in them due to the extreme portions of fruit, vegetables, and added sugars and syrups. We tend to buy larger sizes because they contain plant-based nutrients that our bodies need, but even with those, we can over do it.
Try making your own smoothie! This recipe from Dr. Oz is high in vitamins and packed with fiber!
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups diced watermelon
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 cup diced mango
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
Trail mix is the perfect snack to grab on the go or for those days when you go for a long bike ride or hike. While it’s easy, it is not necessarily low in calories. While healthy trail mix is possible, most store bought versions contain candy, sesame sticks and deep-fried banana chips. If you grab two handfuls of it, you’re likely looking at almost 600 calories from simple sugars, trans fat and refined carbohydrates! Try making your own with some nuts, dark chocolate and dried apricots!
Frozen Diet Entrées
Frozen meals are, once again, very convenient. While they may be low in calories, most of them typically provide little actual nutritional value and are loaded with sodium. For example, refined grains may be used in place of whole grains. If you find yourself in a rush for many of your meals, try meal prepping at the start of each week! Start by cooking a good amount of lean meats, brown rice, and vegetables. Then, portion them into small containers so that each container has a serving of meat, rice and vegetables. This way when you’re in a rush, you simply grab a container from your fridge and heat it up! Sounds familiar, right? Except these are HEALTHY!
Many energy, fiber and protein bars are about two steps away from a candy bar! We’re often lured in by promises of high fiber or protein, but other than these added-in nutrients, there’s not much else. Want fiber and protein? Have some string cheese or an apple instead! If you just really love bars, try making your own with this recipe!
- 1 cup Oats, quick cooking or old fashion
- 1 cup Shredded Wheat Cereal
- 1 cup Walnuts
- 1/2 cups Dried Fruit
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/3 cup Honey
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- 2 Large Eggs
Having a bran muffin over a donut every morning seems like a smart choice, right? Wrong. You might be surprised to find out that you should have just had a donut. Most store bought bran muffins contain almost 800 calories and are made up of sugar and fat; well above the calorie count of a cake donut! This isn’t giving you the okay to consume donuts every morning, it’s simply saying that sometimes the foods we think are helping our health, are in fact doing the opposite. Do yourself a favor and just take a second to read the nutritional labels on the things you are buying.
This one sinks a lot of our hearts. You’re craving a sweet treat, so you go to a frozen yogurt store and think you’re making a healthy choice. While it’s lower in saturated fat than ice cream, which is good, it’s still very close in terms of calories and sugar. Especially if we load it up with toppings. Try limiting it to every so often, and when your friends do call you to your favorite frozen yogurt spot this summer, try keeping portions smaller and topping it with fresh fruit!
These are possibly the most deceiving. We think that because it says “fat-free” it means “calorie-free” so we tend to eat more than usual. What “fat-free” actually means is that the sugar is replacing the fat so you’re getting a high number of calories.
The portions of granola tend to be so small that we are not satisfied with an initial bowl and proceed to fill up the bowl until the milk is gone. It can turn into a vicious cycle that stacks up on calories quite quickly because, even organic granolas, can be a huge sugar bomb. Just half a cup can contain 300 calories; nearly five times the amount of plain oatmeal. Instead, try filling your bowl with a low- or no-sugar cereal, then sprinkle one or two tablespoons of granola on top.
Peanuts, walnuts and cashews are amazing, and so are their healthy fats. They’ve been shown to help boost heart health and keep weight down, so why would you take some of the fat out and replace it with sugar and saturated or trans fat? When it comes to nut butters, stick with options that have one to two ingredients; for example, peanuts or peanuts and salt. Once you go beyond that, your health food has just become unhealthy. You can even make your own by putting peanuts into a food processor with a small amount of salt and oil.
For more tips and recipes maintain your healthiest lifestyle, check out DoctorOz.com!