We’re bombarded with ads every day that tout the benefits of the next biggest health food. Everything from trail mix to smoothies to frozen diet meals can be made to look convenient and healthy. However, the snacks you thought were healthy food options are often not as great as you think. It’s important to stay mindful of the added ingredients in everything you eat to make sure you’re choosing healthy snack options.
Here are nine healthy foods that actually aren’t healthy:
1. Gluten-Free Food
It’s essential that individuals with a gluten allergy follow a strict gluten-free diet. If you don’t have Celiac disease, you’re doing your body a disservice by avoiding gluten. Cutting it out can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular issues since you’re not consuming whole grains. Gluten-free foods also contain different rice flours, starches and sugars that aren’t good for your body unless you have an allergy.
2. Prepared Salads
Salads are one of the best things you can put into your body, but the key is preparing them at home. A salad at a restaurant or a to-go option at a grocery store isn’t as healthy as you think, with dressings full of fat, salt and sugar. As a healthy snack option, make your salad at home with a dressing you make yourself — and go easy on the nuts and seeds that are high in fat and calories.
3. Trail Mix
Trail mix is another so-called healthy snack option that isn’t that good for you at all. Prepackaged trail mixes often include tons of sugar and preservatives that make you hungrier. If you’re consuming all this sugar, you’ll overeat at your next meal to compensate for a snack that wasn’t nutritious enough to fill you up.
4. Instant Oatmeal
Instant oatmeal is another culprit. This popular breakfast food comes in flavored packets that add sugar to an otherwise healthy breakfast. Instead of buying the easy option at the store, go the extra mile to make your own using plain oats. If you want extra flavor, add healthy toppings such as fresh fruits or a sprinkling of nuts.
Don’t get your fruit intake from juice. Buying juice from the store isn’t like buying a glass full of fruit — it’s full of added sugar that detracts from the natural benefits of fruit. If you get a craving for something sweet, eat a whole piece of fruit for natural sugar, vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Smoothies are another drink that is often disguised as a healthy snack option. It typically won’t fill you up until your next meal, and you’ll end up consuming additional calories you don’t want.
7. Fat-Free Foods
Fat is an important part of any diet. When you eliminate healthy fats from fat-free foods, you’re losing a crucial healthy food option. Fat-free foods often contain more calories and sugar to make up for the flavor you lose from eliminating fat.
8. Frozen Diet Meals
Frozen diet meals are usually advertised as a healthy food option, but they generally aren’t. They’re often filled with salt, sugar and other harmful ingredients to make up for the loss of flavor that comes with decreased calories.
Finally, stay away from yogurt as a healthy snack option since it can have lots of refined and added sugars. If you love yogurt, try looking for a Greek option that’s rich in protein and low in sugar.
A healthy diet is just the beginning. Add a workout routine to your healthy lifestyle by coming to Roark Gyms. Your first three sessions are free at either of our locations.