When making decisions about what we eat, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s for the best. Labels with claims of being low fat, no fat, zero calories or even a super food are helpful, but are they giving us the full picture? Here is a list of ten foods that are often mistaken as healthy but actually aren’t.
Read on to find out more…
1. Ramen noodles Most of us are under the illusion that if a food is Japanese it has to be healthy: Wrong. While most Japanese food is very low in fat, ramen noodles aren’t the best choice. If you just eat the noodles alone in a broth, you’re really just enjoying a whole lot of salt. Increase the nutrition value by adding stacks of fresh, steamed vegetables.
2. Cream Cheese If you enjoy a bagel laden with cream cheese, try and make it a weekly treat rather than an everyday snack or breakfast choice. Cream cheese, even the low fat variety, is still very high in fat and low in calcium and nutrition. Ricotta cheese is a healthier alternative.
3. Fried banana and vegetable chips Fried anything is not good for you, whether it be a parsnip, banana or plantain. Many of these so-called healthy snacks are also high in sugar, salt and fat so are best enjoyed in small doses or not at all. Definitely don’t enjoy them throughout the day at your desk!
4. Muffins A muffin a day will definitely lead to a muffin top. These delicious breakfast favourites can be loaded with up to as many as 800 calories, not to mention a whole heap of fat and sugar. If you can’t resist this sugary treat, opt for the skinny variety or make your own. That way you know just how much sugar and oil has gone into them.
5. Honey Granola Granola is one of those foods that has always been marketed as a health food, but be careful. The honey variety can have nearly three teaspoons of sugar within half a cup full so don’t overindulge.
6. Canned soup Canned soup is easy, tasty and cheap so it’s no wonder that so many of us enjoy it for lunch. Make sure you check the label of your favourite variety though – some Campbell’s red label soups are packed with salt.
7. Dried fruit Dried apricots are a tasty and nutritious snack but they should be eaten in small amounts. Dried fruits mean consumption is easy and you can pack away a lot of calories without even thinking. Enjoy them with cereal or as part of a main meal rather than eating alone.
8. Energy Bars There are some really nutritious energy and cereal bars out there but make sure you check the label. Some are full of sugar and saturated fat so they aren’t the best source of fuel before the gym or in between meals. Try making your own and use apple juice to sweeten.
9. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter It’s reduced fat so it must be healthier, right? Unfortunately not. Both low fat and full fat peanut butter usually contain the same amount of calories but the reduced fat version will contain more sugar. Enjoy it in small doses and don’t eat more just because it says low fat on the label.
10. Japanese Rice Crackers These small and tasty snacks (otherwise known as senbei) contain seaweed so everyone thinks they’re a health food. In reality the amount of seaweed is small and is used as more of a seasoning rather than a main ingredient. You’re mostly snacking on refined rice flour which isn’t very good for you.