Today we’re talking about foods that are labeled as “healthy” or “healthier”, but are actually not good for you at all!
Do you love peanut butter as much as we do!? We eat it practically every day, but the peanut butter we buy has only one ingredient – peanuts. Sadly, most peanut and other nut butters contain other ingredients, but will boast a label of “all natural peanut butter” or something to that effect. We ourselves almost fell for one of these labels, but then we read the ingredients, and we stopped after reading peanuts, corn syrup… If a nut butter is truly natural and clean, then it will have only one ingredient – the nut itself.
How many times have you been told to drink your OJ to help get your dose of vitamin C? While vitamin C is great, OJ and other fruit juices can be quite bad! This is because they are processed with a lot of added sugars and you do not end up with the true natural form of the juice. Unfortunately, the juicing process can also strip the fruit of many of its natural nutrients too, leaving you with little value. If you want to make sure you are drinking clean and beneficial juice, just try squeezing or juicing at your home.
Smoothies can be a great on-the-go option, but many smoothies and smoothie mixes that you can buy, are not good for you. They end up containing loads more of sugar and carbohydrates. Sugars and carbs from fruits are not bad at all, but the amounts that you find in pre-made smoothies can equate to eating more fruit than normal for one sitting. Additionally, pre-made smoothies can contain dairy yogurts and milks that are more difficult for our bodies to digest. Try making your own smoothie at home with 1/2 of a banana sliced and frozen, 4-5 fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/2 tablespoon almond butter, 1 scoop plant protein powder (optional), handful of spinach or kale greens (optional), and unsweetened almond milk. Blend and enjoy! You can also try our Berry Burn Smoothie here.
Granola can contain oats, nuts, and seeds – all of which are great ingredients! However, store bought granola usually contains added sugars, corn syrups, and fillers like soy protein isolate. Look for granolas that do not have those added ingredients, or just make some of your own! Try David’s Homemade Granola Recipe here. It is very easy to make and leaves you with a large enough batch to last for a couple of weeks!
Another great, quick, snack, trail mix can really turn into a dessert – although sometimes it’s just healthier to actually eat a dessert! Since trail mix is a “healthy snack,” it is easy for people to keep grabbing and eating handfuls at a time. However, trail mixes these days are usually filled with multiple dried fruits that have added sugars to them, coated candies, chocolate and yogurt covered foods, etc. Opt for a true healthy trail mix by mixing some of our homemade granola with some dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) pieces, unsweetened coconut chips, and/or natural dried fruit with nothing added.
Bars can be such a savior in a time of need, and we eat them ourselves on occasion. However, so many bars out there have ingredients on ingredients on ingredients. Bars can have so many unnecessary added processed sugars and unhealthy saturated fats, that you may have actually been better off just indulging in a donut! But don’t worry, not all is lost! Lara bars are one of our favorites, and if you read the labels, you’ll see why! Our lifetime plan also has many bar recipes that you can make on your own to have to grab and go when you are in a hurry or need a quick snack.
Flavored and Fruit Yogurts
Plain yogurt may not taste as good, but yogurt with fruit and flavorings has a ton of extra fruit syrup that is a highly processed, refined sugar. These yogurts can actually be like eating a candy bar in terms of their nutritional profile. It is much better to opt for a plain yogurt and add your own fruit, or splash of vanilla extract and cinnamon for added flavor.
Unfortunately, froyo is a sneaky, misleading, treat. This pains us to say because we love frozen yogurt, but when you buy it, the cup sizes are much larger than one serving, so a lot of people often eat double or triple the amount! Frozen yogurt may also advertise itself as non-fat or low-fat, but that means that more sugars are present to help make up for the lack of fat. And this is just the frozen yogurt itself – not the toppings. Once you add toppings, we are not only talking high calories, but high processed sugars and fats. To help with this, don’t fill your cup up all the way with the yogurt, and opt for fruit toppings and dark chocolate, or just have it plain!
Frozen Diet Meals
You know the pre-made “health” meals in the freezer section of your store? Please don’t waste your money or health on these! Sadly, we used to eat these practically every day for lunch, and then wondered why we didn’t notice any changes or still didn’t feel well. While these meals may be low in calories (low calories can often trick you into thinking healthy), they are also low in nutritional content, but very high in sodium. These meals may be convenient, but they do not provide value to your body. Choose one day a week where you meal prep your snacks and lunches so that you have a healthy, homemade meal option and do not need to go for these quick fixes.
Fat Free Treats
Although calorie count isn’t everything, when you see the words “fat free” on something, that does not mean it is calorie free! So many fat free treats are deceiving, because we are groomed to think that all fat is bad (it’s not), and when fats are removed, that just means that something else is taking its place – refined sugars or more sodium.
Although it may take a few extra seconds in the store, please make sure to always read your labels, and opt for whole, natural foods. We know that this can seem stressful at first, but if you shop more on the ends of your grocery store, versus the middle aisles (aside from things like detergents etc.), then you will be okay! Our guides here also help you to understand clean foods, when to eat, what to eat, and more.