'Healthy' Foods to Watch Out For
It seems as though there's something new that we're supposed to be doing each and every week in regards to nutrition. Eating more of "this" and less of "that" always seems to be a trend.
Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in what's good for us and not pay attention to what it actually is.
Here are some of the top "healthy" foods you should be looking out for:
1. Sushi: Sushi has generally been regarded as a healthy take out choice. By nature, it's not entirely unhealthy however, it certainly depends on what you're eating. First off, sushi, sushi rolls (maki and other rolls) are made with sushi rice which is made by adding sugar and rice vinegar to white rice. A single roll can often have up to a cup of rice, which is almost 300 calories (and 66 grams of carbohydrates) in just the rice alone. Watch out for spicy rolls, which are made with a spicy mayonnaise and panko, rolls that are fried and those that come with sauces on top.
Limit: anything "fancy" with the word tempura, spicy rolls, fancy rolls with sauces and those that are deep fried.
Try instead: simple maki rolls with fish and avocado, sashimi, sushi (just fish and rice).
2. Restaurant Salads: Restaurants are really good at making all their food sound incredibly appealing, including salads. When dining out, picking a salad might even sound like a better option than the quesadillas or burger but often times, you're better off with those choices! Take the Sante Fe Chicken Salad with Chile Chicken from Chilis, for example. This salad has 620 calories, with 43 grams of fat! For reference, the Grilled Chicken Fajitas only pack 610 calories, 32 grams of fat and 42 grams of protein. Watch out for creamy dressings, toppings that suggest they're fried, excess cheese and nuts and dried fruits.
Limit: Tossed salads, fried toppings, cheese+nuts on salads.
Try instead: The house salad with extra protein, dressing+toppings on the side or protein rich options such as chicken fajitas, grilled lean meats or fish.
3. Gluten Free Foods: Just because something is gluten free, doesn't mean it's healthy! If you look at the nutrition facts for items such as gluten free breads, pastas or cereals, you'll often notice that the nutritional profile is actually worse than it's non-gluten free competitor. Unless you are eating gluten free for health reasons, buying gluten free options isn't always the best option. If you prefer the taste of these items or just want something different, look for high fiber, natural and simple ingredients and protein.
Limit: Gluten free breads, muffins, waffles/pancakes, pastas, etc. unless needed for health reasons.
Try instead: Looking for higher fiber and protein pastas made with black beans or chickpeas (like Banza), baking your own desserts, looking for a high fiber/whole grain bread (such as Ezekiel)
4. Yogurt: Yogurt is a healthy food that often traps people into unhealthy habits. Regular yogurt in flavored varieties generally has more sugar than it does protein and won't keep you full for long. Opting for Greek yogurt is generally a better choice, however, flavored Greek yogurts also often pack in a lot of sugar that isn't good for you. While there are flavored choices that are low-carb, these are often made with artificial sweeteners. Always aim for a Greek yogurt that has more protein than sugar. Yogurts made with coconut milk/almond milk/soy milk also aren't a great choice. While they are dairy free, they often don't have the probiotics and protein that Greek yogurt has making them a choice that isn't so great.
Limit: Flavored yogurts (even from healthy brands!), regular yogurt, some fat free, sugar free varieties, dairy-free yogurt.
Try instead: Plain Greek yogurt (add your own berries, Stevia or peanut butter!), 2% yogurts with some fat, organic brands (such as Siggis) that have limited sugar.
5. Protein Bars: Everyone can use a protein bar! ...or so we think. More and more granola-type bars are hitting shelves advertising themselves as a protein bar. These bars are carbohydrates and sugar in disguise. Often these bars have lots of calories and anywhere from 5-10 grams of protein which is hardly a protein bar. Eating these bars will not keep you full for very long and will instead spike the blood sugar. If you want to eat protein bars, look for bars that are around 200 calories and have at least 15-20 grams of protein per bar.
Limit: Granola type protein bars (like Cliff bars, Jif bars and other brands), bars with less than 15g of protein, bars that have lots of calories/carbohydrates.
Try instead: Protein bars with 15-20g of protein, more natural protein bars such as Perfect Bars or Rx Bars, a protein rich snack that isn't a bar.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave