We never give up looking for the next healthiest thing. Whether it be to lose weight or eat more “natural” foods, we depend on labels and advertisements to give us the information on what we should really be eating.
However, every time you are navigating your way through the different sections of the grocery store, keep in mind that whole, unprocessed foods are the best for your diet. Anything that is boxed and contains unknown ingredients should be well researched before it gets into your stomach.
Here are few foods which don’t live up to their “healthy” reputations:
1 – Banana chips
Their benefit is that they contain almost the same stuff as bananas: food fiber, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Yet manufacturers add flavor enhancers and sugar to banana chips and often deep-fry them.
How to replace: homemade banana chips cooked in the oven or air-dried.
2 – Packaged turkey
When it comes to nutrition, lean sources of protein include chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, beans, and more. However, packaged turkey is loaded with sodium. Packaged turkey may be a quick lunch or dinner option, but if you have the choice, try the low-sodium varieties, or go for the fresh turkey.
There are many varieties of crispbread. You can often meet snacks looking like crispbread that contain harmful oils.
How to replace: just read the composition carefully. There shouldn’t be yeast, modified starch, preservatives, dyes, or antioxidants. The best crispbread is made from whole grains or coarse whole wheat flour.
4 – Gluten-Free Foods
Gluten is a protein contained in grains, and it’s the thing that makes it possible to mix flour with water. It’s dangerous only for people with gluten intolerance, and they comprise only 1% of Earth’s population. Everyone else shouldn’t avoid these proteins without consulting a doctor. Gluten-free foods contain a lot of refined additives, which makes them only more harmful.
How to replace: common bread. Don’t eat too much of it, but don’t be afraid of it either.
5 – Dried and candied fruit
Dried fruits are healthy in themselves, but to protect them from mold and keep their color, they’re treated with fungicides and sulfur dioxide. As for candied fruits, their benefit is even less because of the huge amount of sugar.
How to replace: try to dry fruit at home — it’s not that difficult, but it’s much more healthy.
6 – Processed cheese
In addition to the fact that there are lots of additives in processed cheese, it contains an immense amount of sodium. For example, a sandwich with 3 slices of processed cheese will cover 2/3 of the daily requirement for this element.
How to replace: different kinds of quality cheese, salted cottage cheese.
7 – Canned fruit and vegetables
Producers add to canned vegetables barbecue sauce, vinegar, and other stuff that’s not really healthy. For example, according to nutrition expert Nicole Rodriguez, a can of beans contains about 3 tablespoons of sugar.
How to replace: choose quality freshly canned vegetables without salt, sugar, or preservatives, or can them on your own.
8 – Starchy vegetables
Corn, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, and yams contain less food fiber, vitamins, and minerals than other vegetables and fruits, yet their calorific value is higher.
This doesn’t mean you should refuse these vegetables — you’re simply not recommended to eat lots of them, if you keep to a diet.
How to replace: choose non-starchy (all crispy, juicy, and green) vegetables, especially if you eat them after 6 p.m.
9 – Yogurt
Yogurts from the store contain a lot of sugar and little protein. In addition, you don’t need to chew them, which creates an impression that you are eating something light.
How to replace: choose yogurts with a low sugar content (less than 10 g per portion) and high protein (about 6 g per portion). You can also buy Greek yogurts and add fruits yourself.
10 – Instant oatmeal
Everyone knows oatmeal is healthy, but few people know that the flakes you only need to cook for 2-3 minutes are not really beneficial.
The smaller the flakes, the more they were processed and the higher their glycemic index, so they will bring extra calories. And, of course, instant oatmeal with additives and sweeteners is even worse.
How to replace: choose coarsely ground oats. It takes more time to boil them, but they will give you everything you expected from real oatmeal.