Food marketers are clever. They know you are trying to be healthy so they provide so-called healthy options.
Yet, many of them are not healthy at all.
So, let’s debunk 5 foods most think are healthy, but aren’t, and what to eat instead.
Granola and other whole-grain cereals are advertised as one of the healthiest breakfast options. But, you’ve been lied to.
With an ingredient base that is mostly grain and sugar, you start your day down a path of sugar cravings and weight-gain.
You probably already know that sugar is not good for you, but we also recommend staying away from grains. Yes, even whole grains.
Now we’re not going to lie, granola is tasty, which explains why it is hard to stop eating. So, we’re not going ask you to stop. We’re going to ask you to swap.
Instead of eating granola, here’s what you do. Grab some pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed meal, and unsweetened shredded coconut. Mix your ingredients, put them in a food processor and pulse until you get the texture you want.
If you want more crunch, toss the mixture in coconut or olive oil, spread it out on a baking sheet, and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes.
#2: Flavored Yogurt
The problem here isn’t the yogurt. It’s everything they add to the yogurt to keep you coming back.
With labels like “fat-free” and “contains real fruit”, you get tricked into eating something that is chock full of sugar, preservatives and oftentimes artificial flavors.
The worst part of it is, we’ve been tricked into thinking these flavored yogurts are a healthy snack for our kids.
So we add it to their lunch or give it to them for breakfast. In essence, we’re giving them a handful of sugar, disguised as something healthy.
Now, we are not saying you have to stop eating yogurt unless you have a dairy sensitivity of course. But, swap the flavored yogurt for plain Greek yogurt.
Yogurt should only have two ingredients, milk and active cultures. So, read the label before you buy.
Now, plain Greek yogurt tastes a bit like sour cream. If you want to sweeten things up, add some fresh fruit and natural, no-calorie sweetener, like stevia leaf extract.
And for an extra-special treat, top it with the homemade granola we talked about earlier.
#3: Trail Mix
What’s so unhealthy about a mixture of nuts? Nothing.
But, we all know that trail mix sneaks in some extras. Candy, yogurt-covered raisins, and fried banana chips, to name a few. And on top of it all, there is usually added sugar.
At least there is dried fruit, right?
Well, even though dried fruit contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals, many suppliers add sugar to make it taste better. Even without the sugar, you’re much better off eating fresh fruit than dried fruit.
So swap the trail mix with your own mix of raw nuts and seeds. You can even add a little high-cocoa dark chocolate for that special touch.
#4: Fruit Juice
At the hospital the other day, I overheard someone asking a patient what kind of juice they wanted with dinner. The patient explained that they were diabetic and should just have water, but the person taking the order convinced them to order juice anyway because “they need their vitamins”.
Thing is, one-hundred percent fruit juice does contain vitamins and minerals. But on the other hand, it’s a concentrated source of sugar that hits your bloodstream like a bag of skittles.
On top of this, many juices in the store only have a small percentage of real fruit juice and the rest is filled with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
When you take fruit and squeeze the juice out of it, you leave behind its fiber and a broad range of nutrients. All that’s left is a super-sweet, tasty beverage that contains a lot of calories and doesn’t fill you up.
In fact, it ramps up your blood sugar and ensures you’ll crave more sweets in no time.
Instead of drinking juice, get the vitamin and mineral benefit by eating 2-3 servings of whole fruit every day. Or, toss some whole fruit in a blender along with protein powder and unsweetened coconut or almond milk and enjoy a nice smoothie.
#5: Wheat Bread
Funny thing is, that whole wheat bread may just be white bread with a little bit of wheat flour mixed in.
And in most cases, this wheat bread actually spikes your blood sugar more than white bread because they add sugar to make it taste better.
We actually recommend staying away from most bread. There’s really not much of a health benefit regardless of what type of bread it is.
Plus, the overuse of bread and grains in our society is a key contributor to the obesity epidemic.
If you are craving a sandwich, swap the bread for lettuce, tomatoes or even sliced bell pepper. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, use slices of grilled sweet potato or eggplant.
Finally, watch out for these two things.
To wrap things up, we warn you to be cautious of anything labeled fat-free. In most of these products they take the fat out and replace it with sugar. And as we are finding out, fat is not the enemy, sugar is.
The same thing goes for products labeled gluten-free. These are usually highly-processed and have added sugar.
Don’t be overwhelmed by this information. A healthy diet is actually pretty simple.
Focus on lean meats, quality fats and raw fruits and vegetables. Leave all the packaged stuff behind.
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