There is so much information out there about food these days, it should be easier to pick healthy foods, right? But, with all of the food chatter, sometimes it is actually more confusing and easier to get bad information about what is actually healthy.
“We are a nation of dieters,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, on the Dr. Oz website. “We try new fads and new products. We listen to promises of fast and easy weight loss. We also have so many food options that confusion about what’s healthy and what isn't is the norm – from cookies with vitamins to drinks that will help you lose fat.”
Kirkpatrick suggests 10 foods that dieters and people who are just trying to eat healthy can cross off of their “healthy” list:
- Health drinks: Drinks are often given boosts of vitamins, probiotics and fiber, but Kilpatrick says if they have more than 1 or 2 ingredients, “skip it.” Why? Such drinks typically contain sugars or artificial sweeteners, neither great options. Go for plain water, coffee or tea instead.
- Premade smoothies: Smoothies can contain between 650-1,000 calories, and can be full of sugars and artificial ingredients.
- Trail mix: Can have healthy aspects, but notoriously high in calories. And, if you get the varieties with candy mixed in? May as well have a candy bar!
- Frozen meals: Even the “diet” and “healthy” varieties tend to be loaded with sodium and are typically low in nutrients. A better option would be to prepare your own meals at home and freeze some individual portions for those days when you just do not have the time to cook.
- Meal bars: Fiber bars, energy bars, protein bars—candy bars! No, they are not marketed as candy bars, but with all of the sugar that is often found in them, and the over-the-top calories, they may as well be. Kirkpatrick suggests having a string cheese if you want some high-protein in an individual portion, or an apple for fiber.
- Muffins: Can often have 800+ calories, most of them empty. They may sound healthy—full of things like bran—but they can often be just as unhealthy as the doughnut you were skipping, Kirkpatrick says.
- Frozen Yogurt: Typically it is lower in saturated fat than regular ice cream, but in terms of sugars and calories? Read labels.
- Fat-free Sweets: They may be fat-free, but the sugar that is typically added to make up for the taste usually makes these treats anything but calorie-free.
- Granola: Sounds so healthy and natural, but just a tiny serving is usually full of sugars and often trans-fats. And, are you really going to be satisfied with what is called a “portion?” Probably not, so you are going to over-eat this one easily.
- Nut butters: Keep eating, but make sure you read your labels, and don’t choose the ones filled with added sugars, fats and other ingredients. Get the ones that are, yes, just nuts, maybe with a small amount of salt, but nothing more.
With just a little label-reading, consumers can often make choices about healthy food that they may not have made just by listening to a “healthy” name. Just read!
Image: Wikimedia Commons