We all know that fast food can be bad for you, but did you know that certain “healthy” snacks and side dishes can have a negative effect on your body? Here are a few of IKO Community Management’s list of surprising foods that are actually bad for you:
- Trail mix. This salty snack has added sugars thanks to the chocolate chips, sugary raisins, and M&Ms thrown in. Control your portions by reading the nutrition labels carefully, or opt for a small handful of almonds.
- Granola. When tossed into a bowl of cereal or yogurt, granola seems like a healthy kick, but it actually has high fat content and sugar. If you can’t skip the crunch, choose high-fiber granola with low sugar for heart-healthy oats.
- Fat-free yogurt. Speaking of dairy, don’t be fooled by fat-free anything. Flavored yogurts have about 15 grams of sugar, so opt for plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey instead.
- Smoothies. Most people think that smoothies are a healthy alternative to milkshakes and other sweet treats. However, off-the-shelf smoothie mixes are made with added sugars and high-calorie ingredients like ice cream or chocolate syrup. Make your own whole-food smoothie at home, so you can get the vitamin C and antioxidants without the excess sugar.
- Turkey. When it comes to lunchmeats, turkey is the healthiest option, but packaged deli meat can come with excess nitrates and sodium, which is bad for your heart. The extra penny at the deli is worth it for high quality, and we advise skipping out on adding mayo and too much bread.
- Wraps. Anything in wrap form must be healthier, right? Well, not always. Too many ingredients, especially high-calorie sauces, can make any wrap unhealthy – not to mention the hearty tortilla. Split it with a friend, or create a skinny wrap at home.
- Gluten-free anything. It’s not unhealthy to eat gluten-free products, but it can drastically affect your body. Use this guide on understanding a gluten-free diet.
- Spinach pasta. It may be surprising, but the amount of spinach that’s in most spinach pastas is so small that there’s not much benefit. Instead, try a half-cup of whole-wheat pasta and a side salad with spinach.
- Fruit juices. Packaged fruit juice removes fiber, leaving liquid sugar. Try pressing your own fruit juice, or eating 2 to 3 servings of whole fruit per day.
- Pretzels. With less fat than potato chips and cookies, pretzels are a salty snack that never quite fills you up because they’re filled with white flavor that spikes your blood sugar. If you can’t help but chow down, eat pretzels with natural peanut butter for fiber and protein.
- Veggie chips. Because veggie chips are so thin and processed, most of the nutritional value from the original vegetable is gone via frying or baking. You’re better off eating whole veggies instead.
- Protein bars. We won’t generalize all protein bars as unhealthy, but the best protein bars are organic. Otherwise, it will most likely contain artificial ingredients and fillers. A good rule of thumb is that if it has more than 200 calories or 8 grams of sugar, it’s a candy bar.
- Sushi. The almighty healthy treat can actually harm more than help if it has mayo, cream cheese, or anything fried. Make sure your nori-wrapped meal is made with real, fresh ingredients, too.
- Omelets. You’ll have to skip the oil, butter, and cheese for this breakfast staple. The most nutritional omelets also come with only steamed veggies in egg whites.
- Sports drinks. Designed with athletes in mind, these drinks are only healthy if consumed post-workout. They contain a high amount of electrolytes (salts) and sugar, so stick to plain water most of the time.
Some of these foods aren’t great for our blood sugar or belt sizes, but in moderation, this list can be tackled and consumed. Remember that cooking is always better than eating out because you can control portion sizes and ingredients. Look online for recipes or grab an old-fashioned cookbook.
From all of us at IKO Community Management, choose wisely!