If you’re trying to eat healthier to lose weight, you might think you’re better off going to Panera and ordering a sandwich than you would be going to McDonald’s and getting a cheeseburger. But depending on the sandwich you’re actually better off getting the burger!
Did you know that there’s a sandwich on Panera’s menu that packs almost a thousand calories and nearly your entire days worth of sodium? Your McDonald’s cheeseburger is going to be about half that.
Marketers know how to make you think something is healthy when it actually isn’t. It is up to you to be your own detective and not be fooled by clever gimmicks.
Here are five common health food imposters and what to eat instead.
- While a salad may seem like your healthy choice, restaurants often load them with heavy ingredients like croutons, cheese, nuts, dried fruits and fatty dressing.
- These “extras” quickly add up into hundreds of calories, fat and sodium, and there are often not many veggies left underneath expect for some romaine lettuce and maybe a tomato.
- Skip the salad and opt for a grilled protein like chicken, steak or fish and a side of sautéed or steamed veggies.
- Fruit is healthy because although it contains sugar it also has fiber and water. Dried fruit essentially removes everything but the sugar.
- Dried fruit is like an all-natural jelly bean. It packs a sugar punch and adds up fast. Avoid dried and go for fresh fruit whenever possible.
- Yogurt can have beneficial probiotics, but it can also be packed with unhealthy added sugars.
- There is one particular brand of yogurt out there with flavors that have over 20 grams of added sugar. For a woman, that’s your day’s worth of added sugar content.
- Avoid flavored and sweetened yogurts and opt for a plain Greek yogurt instead. If you want fruit add your own and maybe a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
Pre-made green juices and smoothies
- If it is a packaged green juice or smoothie found in the grocery store it is likely packed with preservatives and added sugars. These aren’t a good option if you are trying to get more servings of fruits and veggies.
- Rather than buy juice prepackaged, make your own at home with fresh ingredients or pick a local green juice shop that makes there’s fresh with minimal ingredients.
- Granola tastes too good to be healthy, doesn’t it?? That’s because it isn’t. It is basically a cookie.
- A handful of granola is typically about 200 calories and as much as 40 grams of sugar! That’s the same (or more) than your average candy bar.
- If you need a snack, go for whole nuts like almonds instead. You can also make your own granola with whole oats. Just lay them on a baking sheet, add some honey and cinnamon and toast it in the oven.
The take away here is this – don’t be fooled. Marketers want you to think food is healthy because they know that you care about your health. But they don’t care about your health, so they’re going to sell you anything and try to make you think it is good for you. Read labels and don’t fall for their tricks.