Over the last couple of months, I’ve been a bit more vigilant what I’ve been stocking in my kitchen as I’ve been doing more and more of my own grocery shopping. I’ve noticed a few things that myself and others have been purchasing that they thought was healthy (thanks marketing!) but really wasn’t that healthy.
Something I’ve been doing more and more is looking at the labels – sometimes it’s easy to pick up something you considered healthy and just blindly assume that it’s fine. According to the FDA, “listing ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight means that the ingredient that weighs the most is listed first, and the ingredient that weighs the least is listed last.” More than once have I noticed a few of my favourite items seemed to have listed sugar in the first 5 ingredients.
Below are five healthy foods I have personally mistaken for healthy and some alternatives actions that I’ve been taking!
Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods
Yogurt is healthy for us right? Yogurt can be healthy but there are quite a bit of yogurts out there that are practically desserts! Take a look at the yogurt above – there are 18 grams of sugar, that’s more than 4 tablespoons of sugar despite being such a small container! Also, make sure you check the ingredients – here you can see that sugar is number 2!
My alternative? If I want something sweet, I usually get plain greek yogurt and add berries into it.
Have you ever thought “salad = healthy” when picking what to eat? Something to keep in mind that the word salad does not mean healthy! Chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad? One of the main ingredients in those are mayo (so very delicious but so high in fat!). Even packaged leafy salads, the dressing that comes with it may or may not be high in fats and sugar. (But honesty, mayo is so delicious!)
My alternative? This is a DIY dish so you know how much mayo/dressing you have per serving. Or better yet, skip the dressing or bring your own light dressing to put on pre packaged salads.
I love Booster Juice, it’s easy to grab a green smoothie on the go when I don’t have time for a meal but that’s how I see it as, a meal replacement. Pre made smoothies can be packed with calories and sometimes even sugar. For example, the Very Berry smoothie from Booster Juice has 58 grams of sugar per serving size.
My alternative: I make my own smoothies and instead of packing it with just fruit, I pack in a lot of kale or spinach to make it healthier.
I LOVE granola! However, it is so easy to eat handful after handful of granola and boy is it packed with calories. Yes granola can be healthy (mine are usually made with almonds, cashews, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds and other nuts and seeds) but the ingredients can be very calorie dense.
Tip: portion out your granola so you don’t end up over eating. Also, making your own granola means you can control the type of sweetener that goes in or the type of ingredients that goes in (here’s my peanut butter chocolate granola recipe that I love but have to keep in mind portion sizes).
5. Pre made microwaved healthy meals
While it’s easy to grab a microwaved meal, some of them can be packed with things you need to look out for. For example, the Lean Cuisine pictured above has 640mg of sodium. According to Health Canada (chart below), an adult should aim for 1500 mg of sodium a day. The Lean Cuisine meal would have almost used up half of my daily recommended amount of sodium! But Lean Cuisine is marketed as healthy right? Hmmmm.
Alternative: Yes I know you’re sick of me saying to just make your own meals but I promise you, you can have fast easy meals that are healthy! For example, my One Sheet Chicken and Vegetables recipe has 137 mg of sodium per serving, cost me around $25 to make ($5 per serving whereas Lean Cuisine is sold at my local Loblaws for $3.99 + tax).
*Note, if you enjoy the original product, you do you! I think they’re delicious too (hence why I bought it to begin with) and I’m never going to 100% stop eating it but I’m definitely going to try to be more conscious of what I pick up (so you know, I can save some of that extra calories for real junk food – hello gelato!!! LOL).
Let’s chat! What are some unhealthy healthy foods that you’ve found yourself picking up?