When you’re trying to set up your healthier diet, there are some foods you always hear good things about. The fact of the matter is that many of these are not as healthy as they’re made out to be. Or they may be originally healthy, but the way they are prepared and marketed make them poor choices for your diet.
Yogurt and Parfaits
Yogurt is usually near the top of the list when it comes to healthy options for snacks and desserts. Unfortunately, it’s also at the top of this list. The pre-packaged yogurts with fruit, chocolate, or sweetened granola are often full of extra sugar that your body does not need. It’s a better idea to buy your own plain yogurt and add fresh fruits yourself so you know exactly what goes into this delicious snack.
Packaged Granola and Trail Mixes
Just like pre-packaged yogurt mixes, granola and trail mix snack packages often contain sweet treats like chunks of chocolate or deep fried bananas. Individually packed servings of these mixes also create a lot of trash. In order to know exactly what goes into your mix and save some plastic, mixing your own batches in bulk and using smaller reusable containers is a solid option.
Even though sports drinks are marketed as being better than soda, that’s largely because of the lack of carbonation, which makes physical activity uncomfortable for athletes. They’re packed full of sugar for quick energy, so they’re great for people doing lots of physical activity. If you’re sitting at home not burning all those extra calories, they can be just as bad as soda. As an alternative, try dropping some fresh sliced fruit into a glass of water to get that added flavor and sweetness you might be craving.
Unbalanced All-Vegetarian Diets
When setting up a vegetarian diet, it’s important to balance what you’re eating. It’s easy to incorporate a lot of filling foods that taste good, but they can be chock full of sugars and very processed. If you only eat potato chips, sure they may be vegetarian, but they’re definitely not healthy or balanced on their own. Sticking with less processed low-carb food, and more protein-rich snacks, fruits, veggies, and whole grains, will keep you full longer and help manage cravings.
“Fat Free” Is Incredibly Misleading
Heavily processed foods that are low in fats are more likely filled with sugar or salt to balance it out. Fats are not evil, but you should be aware of how much you’re taking in. Avoiding fats by eating “fat-free” foods does not necessarily mean it’s healthier. Pay attention to how much of the other ingredients are included.
Low-Fat Peanut Butter
Peanut butter contains a decent amount of good fats, so cutting it out is not a great thing. Just like “fat-free” snacks pumping in sugar and sodium to balance the reduced fat content, reduced-fat peanut butter also has tons of added sugars to improve flavor, making it worse for you than run of the mill PB. If you are intent on avoiding peanut butter, almond butter is great for the body with tons of good fat. For every peanut butter or PB alternative, the less processed and more natural, the better.
Popcorn is a great low-calorie snack when prepared properly. However, given the kind of article this is, you probably know where this is going. Microwaving popcorn in chemically treated bags can release harmful chemicals into the food. Though not immediately dangerous, reducing your intake can improve your overall health. Explore other ways of preparing it, like using an air popper and add your own spin!
Removing these unhealthy foods and trying the suggested healthier alternatives can go a long way towards improving your health.