There is an overwhelming amount of information out on the web about what NOT to eat. After some careful reading, we boiled it all down to six food options. In this article, we’ll talk about the top three. (Stay tuned for part II!)
Because fruit is typically the number one ingredient, it’s no surprise that the smoothie craze is so widespread. Smoothies may seem healthy, but this is definitely a food option to be knowledgeable about. In commercial versions of this blended drink, refined sugar often takes the place of the natural sweetener from fresh fruit. In fact, many commercially bought smoothies have as much sugar as a can of soda or a cupcake.
It doesn’t stop there, unfortunately. Most companies, like Smoothie King for example, provide supplements or “boosters” on their menus to add to their smoothies. What they do not tell you is that these supplements actually contain chemical fillers. As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t find it in nature, it’s probably better to avoid it. To avoid these gimmicks, make your smoothies at home with a tablespoon of real sugar, a dash of honey, or even Stevia.
While sauces and condiments add nice flavors to foods that might need an extra kick, a lot of times extra flavor means extra calories, fat and sodium. If you think things like ketchup are healthy options, thing again. To give yourself a better mental image, just imagine a bottle of ketchup filled ¼ of the way with just sugar. That’s the reality.
Eating at restaurants poses a pretty big problem when it comes to sauces, too. For example, the grilled shrimp with garlic-butter sauce at the Olive Garden may not seem too terrible at first. However, the sauce in this dish racks up nearly two-thirds of your daily fat and about one and a half times your sodium limit for a day. According to health.com, one plate contains 900 calories, 41g fat, and 3,490 mg sodium. If you think that’s bad, spoon a little honey-barbecue sauce on your grilled chicken breast and you might as well have deep-fried it with some parmesan and bread crumbs!
For an ingredient whose name is pretty much synonymous with healthy, the jury is still out on whether or not granola is actually good for you. Even though this delicious cereal pairs well with healthy things like yogurt (and also molds perfectly into a bar form) granola actually contains a startling amount of sugar per serving. Shape.com reveals that just one serving of the popular low-fat Quaker brand contains 18 grams of sugar, which is just as much that’s found in a Twinkie!
If you’re a granola lover, try Nature’s Hand. This brand offers the great same flavor with half the sugar content. And, as is the case with all foods, be sure to study all of the nutrition facts, not just the calorie content.
Be a smart shopper; whether you are in it to lose weight or to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is imperative to know what really lies within the confines of processed food ingredients and the effects they have on our bodies. No matter your health goals, it’s best to cook at home, buy less processed foods, and be picky about where your food comes from. When you hear “healthy”, “low-calorie”, “organic”, and the like, make sure you find proof in that puddin’ and, of course, keep all things in moderation.
Mary is a new young professional who displays a profound passion for food, but strives to fit cooking for two into her busy life one way or another. Easy recipes packed with unbeatable flavor are her specialty. She strives to incorporate flavors from around the world and her kitchen! Simplified grocery shopping, favorite recipe lists, and minimal ingredient dishes are how Mary continues her passion for cooking day after day.