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Think it’s healthy? Think again!

Some foods sound healthy or look healthy, or are promoted as healthy, but they’re actual the result of millions of marketing dollars that want you to think that.  Here are a few offenders:

  • Yogurt covered raisins.  Actually, make that yogurt covered anything, but especially raisins.  They’re sold in ginormous packages at movie theaters and have a ton of added sugar. 

Rule of thumb: anything sold at a movie theatre (other than water) is not a healthy option, though I’m sure there are exceptions at some theatres.

  • Juice. Even 100% juice or 100% fruit juice snacks.  I’m not telling you to stop drinking juice; it’s a great source of vitamins but juice is all of the fruit’s sugar and none of its fiber.  Americans have begun to shun processed foods that remove the fiber (i.e. white bread), yet juice has managed to stay under the radar.  Maybe because there are worse options (like 10% juice that contains added sugar) but, I’m here to declare that it’s not a great choice. 

Rule of thumb: Don’t drink your calories.

  • Granola. I hate admitting this because I have granola almost every day, but it’s not great. Usually it has a lot of added sugar, including high fructose corn syrup.  Another common ingredient is fat; oils added in the cooking process don’t make it taste oily, just delicious.  I choose my brand wisely or make it myself at home.  Remember, granola is a high energy snack – in terms of food, another word for energy is calorie.

Rule of thumb: If the ingredients include any of the following, choose a different granola: hydrogenated oil, puffed rice (look for oats instead), palm oil, or aspartame.

  • Canned soups (even if they’re broth based).  Canned soup packs in calories, sodium, trans fat or MSG (monosodium glutamate) without many nutrients.  Soup companies were some of the first to package 100 calorie versions, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth eating.  Instead, make your own soup at home, add fresh vegetables and freeze single portions so if you want to take it to work, you can just grab and go.

Rule of thumb: If you’re going to have canned soup, read the nutrition fact label and choose soups with less than 250 calories, at least 3 grams of fiber, and no more than 600 mg of sodium per serving.

  • ‘Sugar-free’ foods and candies. I spent a lot of time in this post trashing added sugar, well, now I’m going to trash the products without it. No, I’m not contradicting myself. Sugar-free foods and candies have a lot of other added ingredients that you just don’t need to eat.  A little piece of candy as a treat  isn’t terrible, so have the real thing.

Rule of thumb: Choose foods that have natural sugars in their whole form: whole fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy and whole grains.

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