There has been a cultural shift regarding food habits in America. Gone are the days when people consumed what they wanted without thinking about the health impact of it. Now, most people generally strive to make healthier choices.
The problem with that, though, is that people settle for things they believe to be healthy or that claim to be healthy rather than taking the time to read the labels. You do not be one of these people, though. If you do not have time to read the labels while shopping, do a bit of research ahead of time. Plan your trip in advance. Even consider changing some habits. For instance, the following foods sound healthy, but they really should be avoided.
Once you learn why, you will change some of your buying habits.
1. Multi-Grain or Wheat Breads
It is recommended that whole grain or whole wheat breads be chosen over regular white bread. However, not all breads with the label ‘multi-grain’ or ‘wheat’ are actually good for you because they may not be made with the entire grain. If a bread is not really whole grain, it will lack the nutritional benefits that whole grains provide. This is because the grains used are refined, missing two parts of the grain, which means it is also missing much of the nutritional value. Read the labels carefully.
2. Energy or Granola Bars
Granola is healthy, right? Well, the problem is that many of these bars touted as healthy actually contain unhealthy fats and a lot of added sugar. On top of that, energy bars often contain more calories than should be consumed for a snack. Many of them contain enough calories to equate to a small meal. Again, read labels carefully, checking for ingredient information and calorie amount per serving.
Composed from main ingredients like fruit and milk, smoothies sound like the perfect healthy dessert. However, people tend to eat more than necessary. For instance, a typical purchased smoothie serving size is 16 oz. or more and packed full of so many calories it could substitute an entire meal.
Not to mention, smoothies served at restaurants and smoothie kiosks usually have extra sugar added or ice cream, which add even more calories to the combination. It might be better to make a protein smoothie at home where the ingredients and serving size can be controlled.
Just because an item on the menu has the word ‘salad’ in it does not mean that it is healthy. Do not be fooled so easily. Not all salads are healthy. Tuna and chicken salads are usually loaded with calorie laden mayo and piled high on the bread, adding even more calories. In addition, traditional vegetable salads usually get topped with high calorie dressing. Instead, try making your salads at home where dressing amount and type can be controlled.
5. Reduced-Fat Anything
Foods labeled ‘reduced fat’ may have less fat in them, but they also have something else added. Low-fat peanut butter, for instance, compensates for the lack of flavoring due to the fat removal by adding more sugar. Other reduced-fat items do the same thing. It is important to pay attention to what might be added before purchasing something that says it has less fat.
Turkey is in general healthier than some other types of meat. However, pre-packaged lunch meats have loads of added sodium, including turkey. Just one serving size can contain at least one third of the day’s sodium allowance. It is definitely better to either buy low-sodium packaged turkey or freshly sliced turkey instead.
7. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are great for athletes that need to have their electrolytes replaced after a hard workout. But that does not make them right for those that are doing light exercise such as walking. The amount of potassium and sodium found in these drinks is too much for those that have not been working hard enough to lose them.
The calorie content is also high enough to equal a snack-sized meal. Therefore, water would be better to quench the thirst caused by light work. Save the sports drinks for hard workouts like the kind athletes do.
8. Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt is dairy and, well, it is yogurt. For that reason, it sounds like it should be a better choice than ice cream. As far as saturated fat goes, frozen yogurt is definitely better than ice cream, yet is still loaded with just about the same amount of calories as ice cream. If toppings are added, the calorie and fat content goes up even higher.
It is best to eat frozen yogurt in moderation, just as ice cream should be.