With all of the health and wellness tips floating around on the internet and on the news, it’s easy to get confused about diet and nutrition. It seems like new studies are coming out every day saying that certain foods are good for you to eat, and then later that they cause health problems. Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions about which foods are actually healthy and which ones are really no better than junk food.
These are some of the top foods that you may think are healthy, but they really should be avoided and swapped out with better alternatives.
I mean, at least you’re not eating a doughnut for breakfast, right?
Cereal might sound like a reasonably healthy choice for breakfast, but most cereals are packed with much more sugar and preservatives than vitamins and minerals. Fortified cereals are better options, but still not as sustainable as whole, natural foods. As an alternative, visit your local market’s bulk section and make your own healthy cereal mix with raw granola, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit.
Oh come on, who has 10 extra minutes in the morning to make a “real” pot of oatmeal on the stove?
Instant oatmeal might sound like a decent alternative to traditional oatmeal, but that convenience comes at a cost to your health. Many of the single-serving flavored oatmeal packets that you buy in a box are packed with way too much sugar and too many calories. If you can’t manage to get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning, stick with a non-flavored, low-sugar variety of instant oatmeal. However, steel cut oats are a much healthier option for heart health, weight loss, and sustained energy.
Chips made from vegetables have to be healthier than those greasy bags of chips from the vending machine, don’t they?
Most of the “vegetables” you’re getting from these chips is only from their powders, and pre-packaged veggie are loaded with potato starch, corn flour, and carbs. But fortunately, you don’t have to swear off veggie chips to satisfy your snacking desires if you simply make them yourself from whole, healthy foods. You can make your own with kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and Prevention magazine has some tasty recipes to try.
What could be healthier than snacking on a few handfuls of trail mix mid-day in the office or while outside on a trail?
Pre-packaged trail mix tends to be very high in calories and often loaded with pieces of candy, deep-fried banana slices, and sugary dried fruit. The healthy swap suggestion is easy on this one, because you can make your own trail mix to maximize its healthy benefits. Stick to almonds, walnuts, cashews, dried apricots, and a little bit of dark chocolate, and leave out the rest.
Packaged Lunch Meat
Honestly, what could be so bad about a turkey sandwich?
Taking your lunch to work or school is a wonderful way to eat healthier and save money. However, what you put in that brown paper bag makes a huge difference. Prepacked lunch meats are a favorite among busy people who throw together a quick sandwich before leaving the house in the morning. However, prepackaged turkey and other lunch meats are packed with sodium and other preservatives. Among the prepackaged brands, choose ones that have a sodium content of less than 350 milligrams per 2 ounce serving of meat. Or better yet, head to your deli for meats that are fresh, organic, and preservative-free.
Of course there are many other healthy-sounding foods that you should think twice about, and these are just a few of the top offenders.
If you have trouble getting enough fresh produce in your daily diet, consider taking Seagate fruit and vegetable supplements, which contain pure and organic whole foods in capsule form, such as broccoli, carrots, lemon, and pomegranate.
These are great options if you can’t stand the taste of certain foods, if you have a nutrient deficiency, if you’re traveling frequently, or if you live in a place where the fresh versions aren’t readily accessible. As a rule of thumb, the center isles of your grocery store are all processed foods. The real foods that you can actually identify (meats, cheese, dairy, fish) are located along the perimeter. Try shopping the perimeter and avoiding the center aisles.