In your quest to get in shape, you may be on a constant lookout for healthy foods and snacks to help you achieve your goal.
Don’t be fooled by marketing speak – you should always have a closer look at the ingredients list so you understand what you’re consuming.
Just because something appears in the health food aisle or boasts a few healthy ingredients, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Here are 7 foods that you should not mistakenly label as healthy.
1. Veggie chips
No matter how you try to spin it, eating a bag of veggie chips does not provide you with your vegetable intake for the day.
In fact, veggie chips have been found to be no better than potato chips.
They could end up being worse because people who believe they’re snacking on health food will end up having a larger serving.
Veggie chips have a comparable amount of calories, fat and sodium as regular chips.
If you want a truly healthy vegetable snack, munch on celery and carrot sticks.
2. Flavoured yoghurt
Yoghurt is great if you’re looking to introduce probiotics and calcium into your diet.
Probiotics are active, live bacteria that will help keep your digestive tract healthy while calcium is good for the bones.
However, not all yoghurts are created equal.
If you’re eating flavoured yoghurt or frozen yoghurt that contain a lot of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other additives, you may not be reaping the health benefits you were hoping for.
Stick to natural, unsweetened yoghurt, and flavour it by adding some fruits. Trying to break up with sugar for good? Give these tips a try.
3. Fruit juices
The biggest problem with drinking fruit juice is that you’re not getting the fibre that would come with the fruit in its natural state.
Fibre is important for slowing down digestion and minimising spikes in your blood sugar.
Store-bought juices are also often laden with sugar and confusing marketing speak.
The most important thing you should do is to read the label and check the sugar content.
If you do crave a fruit juice, make sure it’s freshly squeezed and limit yourself to just a couple of times a week.
Looking to try something a little different to up your fruit and veggie intake? Try this delicious fresh fruit soup.
4. Diet soft drinks
You may not be consuming the 7 teaspoons of sugar that’s found in a can of regular soft drink but that doesn’t mean the diet version is healthy.
The diet version does save you some calories but you’re still consuming ingredients such as phosphoric acid and artificial sweeteners.
Stick with water – it hydrates better with none of the artificial stuff!
We guzzle down about 600 million litres of bottled water a year. Here are the arguments for and against drinking bottled water.
5. Breakfast granola bars
You’re drawn in by the words “healthy”, “protein”, “whole grains” and “fibre” when you look at the array of breakfast bars in the supermarket and of course you think you’re going to get a healthy breakfast. But wait!
Take a closer look at the ingredients list.
You’ll find that these breakfast bars contain a lot of sugar.
They also generally don’t have enough nutrients to keep you going for more than an hour, causing you to crave snacks before your next meal.
6. Smoothie bowls
All that nicely-decorated fruit and nuts in one bowl atop a creamy smoothie must be healthy, right? Not always!
The Instagram-worthy breakfast trend may be pretty to look at but how healthy they are depends on the individual ingredients in each bowl.
Some contain ingredients that are high in sugar such as peanut butter, honey and chocolate.
And it’s also easy to consume more than you should as each serving is placed in a large bowl for aesthetic purposes.
Fancy something different? Try this beetroot and raspberry smoothie. You can even put it in a bowl.
7. Low-fat salad dressing
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that something that has low fat will also be low on other unhealthy ingredients.
The truth is, low-fat items will have to make up for flavour in other ways, and that is usually by increasing the amount of sugar.
Instead, you can easily make your own healthy salad dressing – use three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of pepper, and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Looking for a healthy salad choice? Check out this citrus and spinach salad.