In a world with plenty of fast food options offering instant gratification and unmatched convenience, healthy living can be quite challenging. Despite being nutritious and full of health benefits, the required wholesome, fresh foods often take a lot of time to prepare, and they are not usually packed with as much flavor as their unhealthy counterparts. As a result, most people looking to adapt to healthy eating habits find themselves falling victim to fake healthy foods.
Fake health foods are the greatest enemies of progress, especially for those struggling to rid themselves of unhealthy habits. They promise to be just as healthy as organic foods while offering the convenience and flavor of unhealthy fast foods. In reality, they are just as packed with sugars, trans-fats, artificial colors, hydrogenated oils, and other undesirables found in foods labeled as unhealthy. In the end, those who pursue these fake health foods find themselves with the same problems as those indulging in unhealthy foods.
Below are five top fake health foods advertised as nutritious that you should steer clear from if you are looking to engage in healthy living:
Vegetables are the staple of healthy eating. It, therefore, makes sense that chips made from vegetables have to be healthy, right?
Wrong! A crucial component of fresh vegetables, often missing in veggie chips, is the dietary fiber present. This fiber is important in maintaining a healthy gut and preventing digestion problems such as constipation. Besides missing these crucial nutritional components, you will find an awful lot of sodium and tons of starch and oil in these chips.
A much tastier and nutritious alternative to veggie chips is fresh celery sticks or crunchy carrots. You could also make homemade baked pita chips which are free from preservatives, combined with a dollop of homemade hummus to form a complete crunchy delight.
Yogurt Flavored Raisins
Independently, yogurt and raisins are very nutritious options. This is why many people think yogurt-covered raisins are among the few healthy sweet treats we can safely enjoy. But are they really? If you look at the labels, you will find that they are essentially raisins covered in manufactured yogurt-flavored coating instead of real yogurt. The coating consists of hydrogenated palm kernel oil and sugar, among many other ingredients you would rather avoid.
If you want raisins with yogurt flavor, a healthier alternative is tossing raisins in Greek yogurt and keeping them in your freezer for a while. Then you will have your nutritious yogurt covered raisins without all the hazardous additives.
Oatmeal is a delicious and healthy breakfast option that can be enjoyed in many ways. Most people prefer adding a layer of nutritious toppings to boosts its goodness. However, instant oatmeal is a different story altogether. You will find that while the first ingredient in these is oats, the second is sugar. As a result, you will be consuming an unhealthy amount of calories in just a small serving of instant oatmeal.
If you want the convenience of instant oatmeal for breakfast without the health hazard, a great alternative is overnight oats. These are simple to make, where you can soak the raw oats in milk and let them absorb the liquid to make them soft enough for consumption. Overnight oatmeal has a rich protein and fiber content, among other minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. These are not just good for your gut but your overall health as well.
They are marketed as a great way to meet the 'fruit a day' requirement for your kids (or yourself). Although they are convenient and easy to carry around, fruit snacks are fake healthy foods and you'd be better off just eating candy. As top ingredients, most of them contain sugar and corn syrup in addition to the food coloring used to make them pretty and attractive to children.
A smarter move is to just have the real thing. Besides, the fruits themselves are not that bulky, and you could carry them around just as easily as fruit snacks. With real fruits, you are not only assured of a better taste and freshness, but you will also be ticking off essential nutritional boxes.
Simply put, a trail mix is a combination of nuts and dried fruits that you can carry on the go or use as a take-along snack for a hike. What most people do not realize is that the prominent ingredient in the mix is usually sugar-coated chocolate pieces. There are also artificial colors as these are the ones used to coat the candy and give them a nutty, fruity appearance.
For a healthier trail mix, you could throw together a batch yourself using dried fruit without sugar, high-quality dark cacao chunks and raw nuts.
Healthy eating is no easy feat, and these fake health foods do not make things easier. A step you can take to avoid them is checking the ingredients to ensure there are no added sugars or other chemical components that you would not get naturally in fresh produce. Generally, opt for foods from the butcher and produce section as opposed to those on the freezer aisle.