Unfortunately, we’re living in a society that thrives off of processed foods. It’s becoming harder and harder to find food that is natural, healthy, and affordable – and this is especially challenging when there are plenty of foods on the market that sound healthy but aren’t. We’ve compiled a short list of snacks that we like to call “edible imposters;” types of food that sound and look healthy on the surface but really aren’t when it comes down to what’s in them. Take a look:
1. Trail Mix is a delicious medley of nuts, dried fruits, and in some cases yogurt-covered fruits or chocolate morsels like M&M’s. What many don’t realize is that nuts are extremely high in natural fats, which are good for you – in moderation. One serving of raw nuts is typically equal to a small handful. Trail mix is comprised of several other sugary and deep-fried ingredients, and most people eat far more than just one handful!
2. “Reduced Fat” Peanut Butter is a clever ploy to lure consumers in with the illusion that foods with “reduced fat” labels are less likely to influence weight gain. What's the reality? The fat in peanut butter is natural and healthy. When removed, it’s often replaced with sugars, which are much worse for you than the natural fats in peanut butter.
3. Multi-Grain and Wheat Breads can be as healthy as they sound, but only if you read the ingredients! The problem with these breads is that they are often marketed as “whole grain” or “multi-grain” when they are really made with refined grains, which aren’t good for your body because they lack many nutrients found in their whole counterparts. When shopping for multi-grain or whole grain breads, scan the ingredient list. If the flour ingredients are described as “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour,” we recommend searching for a more wholesome alternative.
4. Protein Bars walk a fine line between nutritional snack bar and candy. Some protein bars are in fact nutritional, but many are not. We recommend foregoing this meal alternative entirely and eating a healthy meal instead, but if you must eat a protein bar on the go pay close attention to the nutritional facts including how high the bar is in protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.
5. Granola looks healthy because it’s made from assorted grains and nuts. Unfortunately, many granolas are sweetened with fats and sugars and mixed with chocolate and dried fruits, which take away from its nutritional value. Granola isn’t always unhealthy; if you’re going to make it a part of your diet, just be sure that sugar isn’t the first ingredient listed on the back of the package!
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