A healthy eater needs to be an educated eater. It’s hard to make good choices with all the falseadvertising and marketing gimmicks companies use to encourage you to pick their product. Here are some of the unhealthiest “healthy” food items to watch out for.
1. Veggie Sticks
Veggie sticks claim to be a great alternative to vegetables, but they often have as many carbs as potato chips. They are actually a puffed mixture of cornstarch, potato flour, vegetable puree, salt and sugar. So while they might be healthier than fried chips, I recommend eating baked chips every once in awhile and getting your servings of real vegetables every day.
2. Fat-Free Yogurt
Like many ”fat-free’ products, this often contains high amounts of sugar or sodium to make it taste better. This is especially true of yogurt that is fruit-flavored, because it usually contains artificial sweeteners. A good key word for yogurt is ”light,” meaning it has fewer calories, sugar and fat. The best choice is zero-percent plain yogurt, to which you can add your own fruit.
3. Multigrain Bread
This can be deceiving. ”Whole grain” and ”whole wheat” are excellent options, but ”multigrain” can be something quite different. ”Whole wheat” and ”whole grain” indicate that the entire kernel is used in the bread. ”Multigrain” indicates that more than one grain was used, but in most cases, only part of the grain, thereby removing some of its nutrient content. (Check out What’s Better: Whole Wheat or Whole Grain?)
4. Tuna Salad
Tuna is an extremely healthy food item, full of healthy fats and lean protein. The trouble is that when you order it in a restaurant in prepared form, it usually includes large amounts of whole fat mayonnaise and sometimes even salt or sugar. Ordering tuna ”dry” is a better option, if available.
5. Trail Mix
We’ve all heard about how healthy snacks can help us maintain weight and fuel properly throughout the day. A healthy mixture of nuts and raisins is a great example, but be careful when they are packaged together as trail mix. Sometimes these mixes contain more dried fruit and chocolate than we need. The portion is often double or triple the serving size, so it is better to make your own.
6. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks claim to be excellent hydrators and necessary for recovery. While they are great for games and tough workouts, sports drinks are often consumed unnecessarily during the day or after light activity. Since they are high in sugar, they can pack on the pounds when consumed at the wrong time.