We’re all trying so hard to eat more nutritious foods, not just to lose or maintain weight, but to make sure we’re getting everything we need to be healthy and happy. We eat our five servings of fruits and veggies each day, try to add whole grains when we can, and study nutritional labels… but a few foods slip through the cracks and avoid our scrutiny because we’ve always thought of them as “health foods.” But some are not! Here’s a list of 7 foods you thought were healthful, but aren’t.
1 Chicken Noodle Soup
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We’ve all heard, and perhaps even felt, the healing, restorative powers of chicken noodle soup, ideal for curing colds and flus and general malaise. But did you know it’s loaded with sodium, and can also be filled with fat? Before you buy a canned soup, check the label and pass if it’s less-than-worthy of your affection (or ingestion). Instead, make your own, or buy the low-sodium “healthy choice” options.
2 Bottled Juices and Teas
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You would think fruit juice and iced tea would be a better choice than sodas, but did you know that most of the bottled single-serve juices and teas contain just as much sugar, and very little actual juice or tea? Again, check the label to see what’s actual in the juice or tea before you buy it. If it contains high fructose corn syrup, or the “sugars” inside are more than 12g, then you should pass… and grab a bottle of water, or REAL juice, instead.
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I am a great fan of the sandwich, especially flatbread sandwiches and pita rolls. But did you know that these aren’t necessarily healthy choices either? Many lunch meats are loaded with fat and sodium, and tuna and chicken salads can be made with far more mayonnaise than they have to. Check nutritional information on sandwiches and subs from restaurants, and opt for low-fat mayo (if available) or veggie subs with little or low-fat dressing.
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Sure, the fruit and veggie part of salad is a fantastically healthful choice, but so many salads are topped with junk food… like croutons, bacon bits, breaded fried chicken, and fattening (but delicious) cheese and dressings. If you’re craving a salad, choose one without the unhealthful toppings, or use them in moderation.
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This follows the same logic as fruit juices — they’re supposed to be so good for you, with all the vitamins and antioxidants we crave, but for some reason, commercially-made smoothies are terribly junky. They’re loaded with high fructose corn syrup (“sugar”) and very little actual juice and yoghurt. They’re fattening, too… a large strawberry banana smoothie from McDonald’s contains 330 calories and 77 carbs (70 of which are from sugar). Yikes! If you really want a smoothie, use low-fat yoghurt and fresh fruit to make your own delicious, nutritious concoction at home.
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We women need our calcium and vitamin D, so many of us will add a container of yoghurt to our lunch boxes, but have you ever taken a peek at the nutrition label on the back? Yoghurt can be just as unhealthful as any other junk food, again, loaded with sugar, fat, and more. Choose a yoghurt that contains only a few grams of fat, and one with as little sugar as possible. There are hundreds of flavors from dozens of brands, so experiment a little with the healthful options to find the one you like best.
7 Granola Bars
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I used to pack a granola bar in my daughter’s backpack as a mid-morning snack at school, until I got bored one day in the checkout line and checked the nutritional information. I was shocked — even the ones without chocolate chips are really, really fattening and loaded with sugar, almost as much as a candy bar! Now we opt for healthier “less sugar” versions, and then only once in a while as a treat.
Those are just a handful of the foods we’ve always thought of as healthful, but once you look more closely, they’re not! It’s shocking, isn’t it? Which of these tasty foods had you fooled? Or is there another so-called “health food” you’ve recently found was not as good as you thought? Please share!
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