By guest blogger, Sheila Zhou
It’s easy to get confused by the various ‘healthy’ food options available these days. Whether something is ‘fat free’, ‘all-natural’ or ‘organic’, we are often tricked into consuming foods that aren’t as nutritionally balanced as we think, in fact sometimes the calories and chemicals in these ‘health foods’ are higher than in our favourite junk foods.
Here are 5 common faux-healthy ‘health’ foods:
Most people are likely to order a salad at a restaurant if they are looking for a healthier option on the menu, however, not all salads are created equal. In fact, many can have toppings that make eating a salad just as unhealthy as choosing a burger. Adding croutons, shredded cheese, dried fruit and certain dressings can make your salad an unhealthy alternative. By opting for veggies and lean meats as toppings, with oil and vinegar to top it off, you can save yourself from eating as many as 500 calories per serve – so don’t think that just because something has lettuce in it, it’s in the clear.
What could be wrong with blended fruits, veggies and milk or ice? Yes, smoothies are primarily made with those ingredients but they can also be full of chocolate, peanut butter, frozen yogurt and syrups. All of those additives decrease the nutritional value, and can make drinking a smoothie just as bad as slurping on a milkshake. Instead, products such as Nutrimeal, for example, are great alternatives as they’re low GI and high in fibre and protein, so you can enjoy a flavoursome and well-balanced meal-in-a-glass without the chemicals or calories.
3. Orange juice
A good source of Vitamin C, many people pour themselves a cup of orange juice with their breakfast each morning. What some don’t realise is that orange juice is loaded with carbohydrates and added sugars. Simply taking a high quality Vitamin C tablet, such as this one or eating an orange, are both good ways to avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar while still receiving the nutritional benefits of Vitamin C.
On a cold day, people want a quick and easy meal that will warm them up. A simple option is canned soup, but it can also be a big mistake. Canned soups are typically high in salt, which can cause bloating and fluid retention. Choosing to make homemade soup is the best alternative because you know the ingredients included and you can substitute anything you deem unhealthy for a healthier option.
5. Muesli bars
Many people have the belief that muesli bars are healthy snacks, with some even calling them a ‘breakfast staple’, however, a majority of readily available muesli bars actually have more calories and sugar than a Mars Bar! Make sure you stay away from the bars with high level of artificial sweeteners, and additives such as yoghurt or chocolate chips, instead ensuring you opt for a wholefood and nutritionally balanced bar such as these Berry Nutty Bars which are made only from natural ingredients.
About Sheila Zhou
Sheila Zhou is an expert scientist at the USANA Health Sciences, which was was founded in 1992 in the United States by microbiologist and immunologist, Dr Myron Wentz.