What’s Healthy – What’s Not
Trying to eat healthy? Well make sure you’re doing it right.
Both Men’s Health and AOL chime in on foods that can be healthy but usually aren’t.
They both agree that you should stay away from granola bars.
Most granola bars are simply candy bars in disguise, with very little fiber, lots of processed carbs, and a ton of sugar. You’re better off making your own healthier version from raw oats, chopped almonds, coconut flakes, raisins and a dollop of raw organic honey.
AOL says there’s no need to hold off on the yolk in omelette’s.
No yolks in your omelette’s? That’s just utterly unnecessary. The yolk contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health. Egg yolks are also an important source of phosphatidylcholine, a nutrient that boosts brain health. Worried about your cholesterol levels? Consider this: Half the fat in the yolk isn’t even saturated.
And if you think farm-raised salmon is good…
You’d think eating penned salmon would be the healthier way to go, but the farm-raised fish are pumped full of antibiotics and are lower in nutritional value than their wild relatives. In addition, wild salmon get their red color from an antioxidant in their natural food source, krill. Farmed salmon get their color from dye.
Sugary cereals are obvious bad, but make sure you’re buying the right ones.
Most supermarket cereals are fiber lightweights and are also loaded with sugar. The best cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, and a few standouts like Fiber One and All-Bran. Check the labels and choose cereals that have fewer than 5 grams of sugar and more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.
Careful when drinking bottled drinks, like apple juice.
It’s sweet, refreshing and a favorite among kids. But most apple juice is nothing more than sugar water with apple flavoring. One cup of apple juice has no fiber, 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar. And most people consume way more than a cup at a time. Stick to fiber-rich apples and skip the juice.
Men’s Health also advises to stay away from things like baked beans, and suggests red kidney beans packed in water.
Beans are packed with fiber, which helps keep you full and slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. The baked kind are typically covered in a sauce made with brown and white sugars. And because the fiber is located inside the bean, it doesn’t have a chance to interfere with the speed at which the sugary glaze is digested. Consider that 1 cup of baked beans contains 24 g sugar: That’s about the same amount in 8 ounces of regular soda. Red kidney beans, packed in water. You get the nutritional benefits of legumes, but without the extra sugar. They don’t even need to be heated: Just open the can, rinse thoroughly, and serve. Try splashing some hot sauce on top for a spicy variation.
You think yogurt with fruit at the bottom is a smart breakfast? Just pick the right one…
Yogurt and fruit are two of the healthiest foods known to man. Corn syrup is not. But that’s exactly what’s used to make these products supersweet. For example, a cup of Colombo blueberry yogurt contains 36 grams (g) of sugar, only about half of which is found naturally in the yogurt and fruit. The rest comes in the form of “added” sugar — or what we prefer to call “unnecessary.” Opt for Dannon Light ‘n Fit Carb & Sugar Control Yogurt, which has 90 percent less sugar than regular yogurt does.
And watch out for fat-free salad dressing.
Cutting out the fat reduces the calories that a dressing contains. Sugar is added to provide flavor. But perhaps more important is that the removal of fat reduces your body’s ability to absorb many of the vitamins found in a salad’s vegetables. Ohio State University researchers discovered that people who ate a salad dressing that contained fat absorbed 15 times more beta-carotene and five times more lutein — both powerful antioxidants — than when they downed a salad topped with fat-free dressing. Choose a full-fat dressing that’s made with either olive oil or canola oil and has less than 2 g carbs per serving.
And for another list of the 10 worst foods (like a Starbucks Venti Caffè Mocha) and the 10 best foods (like Uncle Ben’s Microwaveable Brown Rice) click here.
Pretty bummed by now? Well try some suggestions from Men’s Health for the best foods you aren’t eating, such as beets, cabbage, guava, Swiss chard, cinnamon, pomegranite, goji berries, dried plums and pumpkin seeds. All of these are packed with nutrients. They even suggest an Asian Slaw Salad:
- 4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
- Juice of two limes
- 1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store
- 1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
- 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.
Photo from Flickr.