Part 2: Avoid These Health Food Imposters

Here's a few more foods that may be masquerading as healthy.

Not all of the foods we think are healthy actually are! Here are some more of those perceived “healthy” foods and why they may not be the best choice.

Continued from last week...

5.) Pretzels

These are often touted as a better choice than chips because they are lower in fat. While pretzels are low-fat and sometimes even fat-free, they are also low in nutrition. The carbohydrates in pretzels are absorbed fairly quickly due to a lack of fiber, which will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied and may prompt you to eat a few handfuls more than you should. 

6.) Restaurant salads

Depending on what you order, your salad can be super healthy or a super calorie bomb. At their core, salads containing a variety of greens and other vegetable toppings are a great choice. Add on croutons, cheese, meats, eggs, and enough dressing to fill a gravy boat, and your great choice just took a turn for the worse. 

7.) Fish or chicken sandwich

Because fish and chicken are generally lower in saturated fat than red meats, many people automatically choose the fish or chicken option at a restaurant and feel they are making a healthier choice. Always take into account how the fish or chicken was prepared—if it is fried and/or breaded, you may want to make another selection from the menu. Example: McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich contains 380 calories and 18g of fat while a plain hamburger only contains 250 calories and 9g of fat.

8.) Just ordering the appetizer

You have probably heard this advice before: when going out to eat, avoid ingesting too many calories and too much fat by “just ordering an appetizer.”  A few reasons why this may not be good advice in all instances:

  • Outback Steakhouse appetizer: 2 Lobster-Crab Cakes with sauce contain 840 calories and 72g of fat.
  • Chili’s Grill and Bar appetizer: 9 boneless buffalo wings with bleu cheese dressing contains 1,170 calories and 85g of fat.
  • Ruby Tuesday appetizer: the chicken quesadilla contains 912 calories and 56g of fat.

If you do go the appetizer route—share, share, share!

9.) Wheat bread

As much as you may not like to hear it, ‘wheat’ bread is basically identical to its lighter counterpart, ‘white’ bread. Both have been stripped of the important nutrients during the refining process. ‘Wheat’ bread usually just has some caramel color added to it.  True 100 percent whole-wheat bread is your best nutritional bet. This bread is made from all the nutrient-rich parts of the grain and contains more fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and chromium. Look for ‘whole-wheat flour’ as the first ingredient on the label.    

10.) Frozen “healthy” meals

Frozen meals like Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers may be fairly low in calories and super convenient, but they are highly processed and high in sodium. Most have more than 600mg of sodium per package. Choose wisely.

11.) Organic food

Organic food may be pesticide free and better for the environment, but that doesn’t mean it is calorie-free or lower in saturated fat and sodium. Case-in-point: You can now buy organic potato chips, organic cookie dough, and organic candy. 



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