A healthy lifestyle consists of 3 healthy, portioned out meals and 2-3 healthy small snacks in-between each meal to ensure a speedy metabolism. When planning out your snacks it may be hard to keep the variety of each snack while keeping it healthy. But even when we try our hardest, unhealthy food may sneak into our diets. Here are a few examples of “Health Food Imposters”.
1.) The wrong animal protein. Protein is the base of any solid diet plan. It takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does to digest carbohydrates or fat, so the more protein you eat, the more calories you burn. However, we do not want you eating the fatty and processed kind of protein!
- Avoid: Sausage, bacon, ham, fatty cuts of meat, and yes even those boxed egg beaters and egg whites
- Aim For: Whole eggs, real turkey breast, fresh chicken meat, fresh fish, and other lean organic meats
2.) Trail Mix. This one can be tricky. The average trail mix has salted peanuts, raisins (or any other type of dried fruit), and some sort of chocolate candy. This adds up to a TON of calories, fat, and sugar. Yes we want the fat from peanuts but there are healthier options.
- Avoid: Candied, salted, or smoked nuts. Chocolate candy pieces, granola, and processed dried fruit.
- Aim For: Pure, unadulterated nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and Brazil nuts. For something sweet mix different type of organic dried fruit in your trail mix.
3.) Some Peanut Butters. Peanuts are a great source of fat and some protein. The problem is, many peanut butter companies lace their products with dangerous Trans Fats usually hidden under the term “Hydrogenated Oil” along with heaping amounts of sugar. Peanut butter should only have one ingredient… Peanuts!
- Avoid: Peanut butter products containing hydrogenated oils.
- Aim For: Anything with the only ingredient being “Peanuts”. There are also some health food stores where you can buy fresh ground peanut butter.
4.) Smoothies. Do you make your own smoothies or do you go out and get one? They’re refreshing and very yummy. Typically they are a great way to get your fruit in for the day. You can now find them at fast food restaurants, grocery stores — even coffee shops. But while smoothies may sound like a healthy treat, sometimes they’re anything but.
In an article on webmd.com states the following: A 20-ounce serving of Smoothie King’s The Hulk-Strawberry has more calories than a Burger King Double Cheeseburger with a medium order of French fries (it totals 990 calories, 52 grams total fat, 19 grams saturated fat). Dairy Queen’s Tropical Blizzard (with 1,122 calories, 62 grams fat, and 25 grams saturated fat) has more total fat and saturated fat than the same fast-food meal.
- Avoid: making your smoothie with fruit juice, whole milk, or sugary yogurt. Also avid frozen fruit that contains preservatives or added sugars.
- Aim For: Use fresh Fruit as your base, add some greens in (the fruit masks the flavor of any spinach or kale), and then add water and ice. Put a scoop of protein in there to really curb off hunger.
Guide to Green Smoothies:
5.) Some Cereals and Whole Wheat Bread. Whole-grain carbohydrates can play an important role in a healthy lifestyle. The problem is, food manufacturers are very sneaky. Sometimes, after refining away all the vitamins, fiber, and minerals from wheat, they’ll add molasses to the bread, turning it brown, and put it on the grocery shelf with a label that says wheat bread. It’s a trick! Truly nutritious breads and other products will say whole wheat or whole grain. Do not be fooled.
- Avoid: Processed bakery products like white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat
- Aim For: Organic oatmeal, whole grain bread (such as those made from more spelt flour or whole grain sourdough, or sprouted grains), and cereals with little to no added sugars or preservatives. Your ingredient list should be small and readable.
6.) Protein, Energy, and Granola Bars. These are simple on the go snacks that help fuel you up in-between meals. These bars contain fructose corn syrups, sugar and saturated fats and are typically more than 350 calories per bar. For example, a Peanut butter Cliff Bar contains 250 calories, 6 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 21 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.
- Avoid: High sugar containing bars, traditional granola, protein, or energy bards.
- Aim For: Try to make your own energy bars at home. Low-fat cheese, fruit, and unsalted nuts are always a good alternative.