To live a long and healthy life, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet. This mentality is what we grow up with and continues throughout our adult years. We read articles and books and listen to professionals as they deemed what types of food were the healthiest to eat. We decided to question if they were right; if they knew all about what foods would help us live the long and healthy life we want.
We began researching and compiled a list of 8 foods (some of our personal favorites) that surprised us when we learned the truth behind these “healthy” items. Here they are…
Multi-grain / wheat bread
While multi-grain bread may seem healthy, and your parents proudly replaced white bread with a better choice, unfortunately, many are made with refined grains which use bleaching chemicals. Rather than making a decision based on the color of the bread, check the label. You need to avoid the ones that say the first flour ingredient is refined (bleached or unbleached enriched flour) as this means it is not made with whole grains.
Many people enjoy going to smoothie chains because it’s convenient and refreshing especially on a hot sunny day. Because it’s a smoothie, many automatically assume it’s healthy. Though they add real fruit, these fruits are filled with sugar and are calorie-dense. For example, bananas, mangoes, and pineapple are common fruits in smoothies, but these have the highest sugar content. Try smoothies with raspberries or blackberries instead. You can also make smoothies at home to know exactly what goes in them. Get creative as not all smoothies need fruit!
Ever think that dried fruit tastes better than fresh fruit? There may be a reason behind it. If you buy dried fruit at the grocery store, they probably added sugar and sulfur dioxide which explains why it tastes so good. This easy snack can still be a healthy option, just make sure to read the label and if there’s an ingredient other than fruit, skip it!
Pretzels and other baked snacks are low in protein, fiber, fat, vitamins, and minerals so it can be easy to overeat because you are left unsatisfied and still hungry. Stick to the recommended serving size or try a handful of nuts instead if you’re looking for something salty. Another option is to dip carrots or celery into hummus to get that crunchy snack you crave.
Salad is the kind of food people only eat to be healthy, not because they actually like it. Drowning the salad in dressing defeats the point of eating something healthy as many dressings are full of sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial chemicals, and trans-fat. Try making your own dressing by using simple ingredients like balsamic vinegar or olive oil and adding pepper. It’s that easy!
Just because the label reads “gluten-free” does not mean it’s healthy. If you don’t need to eat foods that are gluten-free, then you shouldn’t go out of your way to purchase these items. Usually, fat is used to replace gluten in foods, so you’re paying more for food that is less healthy. Stick with foods that are naturally gluten-free like fruits and vegetables.
Energy bars are a quick and easy snack to give that energy boost needed to power through the rest of the day. Some bars contain more than 350 calories, so be careful when choosing this snack and read the nutrition facts label for healthy weight management. To get the energy you need, avoid bars filled with high fructose corn syrup and added sugar. There are a ton of recipes that can be found online that you can make at home! Most have less than 5 ingredients so they can easily be made within minutes.
Yogurt can make any bland and boring snack tastier (yogurt-covered raisins and almonds are a go-to). However, the coating on this seemingly healthy snack contains sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, milk powder, and yogurt powder. Because of these ingredients, these snacks no longer have the healthy nutritional value that yogurt intentionally has. Save these yogurt-covered snacks for an occasional sweet treat. If you want to have a daily healthy snack, try Greek yogurt and mixing it with fresh fruit like raspberries or blueberries.
Maintaining A Well-Balanced Diet
Be conscious about what you’re consuming as it’ll guide you to healthier eating and maintaining a well-balanced diet. While some of these “healthy” foods may be shocking, it is important to keep in mind that moderation helps maintain a well-balanced diet. Focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods that contain no added sugar, and remember to check the label. Do all of the above and you’ll be on your way to living a long and healthy life.