It’s easy to be tempted into buying health food, especially when it looks like a more wholesome version of foods we love but have to avoid for dietary reasons. But many of the foods that come with some type of healthy classification AREN’T really healthy! Find out which 10 ”Health” Foods to mark off your shopping list below!
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“Noooo, not granola!” you say, but it’s true– granola looks like a fancy health food and it’s not! One cup of granola can have around 500 calories in it! Not to mention it’s usually packed with sugar and fat. Opt for oatmeal instead and save yourself some calories!
100-Calorie Snack Packs
These are tricky little guys because 100 calories sounds like a great tradeoff for a few moments of sweet bliss, chocolate chips, and the convenience of having it already packaged for you. But the truth? It’s all processed food that contains sugars, fats, and sodium that you don’t need. Make your own pack-ahead snacks to save yourself the money, the frustration, and the yucky ingredients.
While some people legitimately cannot eat gluten, most of us can. But somewhere over the last few years, gluten became a huge villain, and otherwise healthy people started kicking it out of their diets left and right! That’s how the gluten-free industry which was born, and for Celiac’s sufferers, it’s been great. But it’s important to know that just because something is labeled gluten-free doesn’t automatically make it healthy, organic, or low in fats. Read up on how to understand food labels to help make better decisions when cruising the supermarket!
“Healthy” Frozen Dinners
The frozen dinner aisle runs the gamut from healthy to disastrous in terms of marketing, but all of it is unhealthy. Even if it’s low-fat, it’s probably packed with sodium and sugar to improve the taste. Your best bet is to meal prep each week to always have something convenient to eat at home. Even if you’re not into meal prepping, just making double the batch of foods that you do like will give you some healthy leftovers to save for the week or freeze for later.
Fruit Cocktail Preserves
Whether in a can or a box, fruit cocktail should really just be called “fruit in high fructose corn syrup” because that’s what it really is. Gross. Opt for frozen or fresh fruits and make a fruit salad in your own kitchen!
Rice Cakes (and other rice-based snacks)
These were all the rage for dieters 20 years ago, but times have changed, friends. Rice cakes rank pretty high in the glycemic index, meaning that while they’re low in calories and perfect for adding toppings to, they don’t have any lasting power in your body (you’ll be hungry soon after eating them), and on top of that, they spike your blood pressure! Not ideal at all.
Salads from Fast Food Joints
While not technically on the health food aisle, they are marketed as a health food. The thing is that in some cases, you’re better off getting the burger than the salad in terms of calorie counts and protein content. If you really need a burger, go for it (sans combo, of course) and get back to healthy eating at the next meal. Don’t get a daily salad at a fast food joint and fall for the idea that you’re doing yourself a favor, though!
Not all soup is bad, but canned soups (which are often sold as healthy diet options) are sodium bombs! Not only that but many of them are highly processed with lots of preservatives. Make big batches of your favorite soups and freeze servings for later instead of relying on these canned soups– they’re often packed with salt and sugar to make up for the taste.
Baked Vegetable Chips
The truth is that even though they sound pretty healthy, they’re usually still high in fats, oil, and salt. Opt for chopped veggies instead– dip them in hummus or guacamole for more flavor if you miss the flavors from chips.
Most ”Light” and ”Low-Fat” Options
It feels good to know you’re buying a product with fewer calories or fat grams, but the truth is that you’re often paying it back in sodium or sugars to make up for the taste. Don’t fall for the trap that you can eat more mayonnaise or salad dressing or coffee creamer or what have you simply because it says ”low-fat”. It might indeed be low fat but it’s probably high in sugar or salt, and that doesn’t do you any good, either.
Did any of the foods on this list surprise you? The marketing tactics to get them to sell aim them specifically at those of us trying to be healthy, which is especially dirty! Make sure you’re prepared to read labels next time you go shopping!
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