In the 90s, there was a fat-free craze. With reckless abandon, I would eat cookies that were labeled fat-free. It was during the time when fat grams were bad but carbohydrates were okay. I used to get fruit smoothies with sherbet. I thought I was eating well. However, after educating myself, it turns out a lot of the so-called health foods I was eating really were not very healthy. As a result, now I look at the nutritional content a little more closely before assuming something is healthy.
You always hear about salmon being loaded with omega-3s and good fats. However, not all salmon is created equal. According to undergroundhealth.com, farmed salmon is a “high-risk cancer food.” Furthermore, it is often “contaminated with carcinogenic chemical, PCBs, flame retardants, pesticides and antibiotics.”
I actually love granola. It contains healthy ingredients such as rolled oats and almonds. It is a good source of protein, dietary fiber and iron. However, some varieties are loaded with sugar. In addition, many have over 200 calories per ¾ cup serving. For this reason, look for a granola that is low in sugar. Also, according to parentsconnect.com, “eat a sensible portion, perhaps ½ to ¾ cup, and top it with low-fat yogurt and fruit.”
I love to juice. However, I no longer put sherbet in my smoothies. In fact, I mostly drink straight fresh squeezed vegetable juices with a little fruit. My husband’s recipe includes kale, carrots, apples, tomatoes and a little bit of orange juice. Like granola, many smoothies can have too much sugar. In fact, while looking at the nutritional info at Jamba Juice, I noticed the regular size of their Aloha Pineapple smoothie had 410 calories and a whopping 91 grams of sugar. A better option is to skip the sherbet and get the sixteen version. This is only 190 calories and 37 grams of sugar (which is still a bit high for me). Even better, try juicing at home. You can hand pick the fruits and veggies that go into your drink.
Some protein bars (and breakfast bars) are very processed. As much as I want that nutty protein bar covered in chocolate to be healthy, most of the time it’s not. I say, if it looks like a candy bar and tastes like a candy bar, it’s probably not too much better for you than one. When I eat a protein bar, I try to stick to the ones with whole nuts and low sugar. KIND bar has some good varieties. I like the dark chocolate nuts and sea salt version. However, be aware that although it is nutrient-rich and has only 5 grams of sugar, it also has 200 calories and 13 grams of fat. Thus, I treat it as a healthy dessert or a snack while I’m on the go. If you want fiber and protein without the added sugar, Dr. Oz suggests “some string cheese or an apple instead.”
When you are trying to stay healthy, it’s important to read labels and not allow health trends to sway your diet. After all, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
More from Melissa:
Eating Organic Food Doesn’t Make You a Snob (Unless You Act like One)
Eat a Rainbow: Getting Your Kids to Consume Five Colors a Day
Honey and Health: It’s a Sweet Combination