There are so many health foods out there that are “fakers.” They are high in sugar or calories or unhealthy fats, even though they’re labeled “diet” or “low-fat.” Here are a few to avoid:
Is a fruit smoothie better for you than a cheeseburger? Not always! Many of the bottled ones sold in stores or served at fast-food restaurants are outrageously high in calories and added sweeteners! Make your own (I love an Orange Goji smoothie!) Also, a homemade, greens-based smoothie is a delicious way to trick yourself (and your family) into eating more veggies.
Brightly lit shelves of this are all over your grocery store. These sweetened yogurts pack a sugary punch. Some brands have over 17 grams of sugar and major carb count. Instead, have plain Greek with a swirl of agave or honey, that way you control the sugar. Top it off with a few berries and a dash of flax seeds for skin-friendly antioxidants and heart-healthy essential fatty acids.
Frozen Yogurt Shops
Is this actually considered food? By now we should all know that fat-free does not necessarily mean calorie-free. A medium serving of this frozen fakey-food can have tons of calories and sugars and then when you add the toppings…forget about it! You wind up with more calories (and chemicals) than a scoop of ice cream. Just say no!
Fat-Free Muffins, Breads, And Bagels
These are just butt expanders. Evan bran ones. Some have one-third of the average daily-recommended dose of calories in them—all in one stupid muffin. And there is no nutritional value. Zippo! Oh, and that NY bagel you love to eat? IT’S LIKE EATING SIX PIECES OF WHITE TOAST. Is it really worth it? Damn. There are always bagels on set. Always.
Just because it’s labeled “low-cal” or “gluten-free” or “vegan” or “fat-free” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “good for you.” Remember, french fries are technically “vegan.” While sometimes it’s a healthy choice, often enough they are packed with sodium, sugar, or other yucky additives or allergens. Get beyond the front of the box and learn to read labels and recognize no-no ingredients.
You might think that one extra scoop of pine nuts in your salad, or a few more slices of avocado on your turkey wrap are no big because, because they are healthy! BUT even healthy foods add up. That extra spoonful of almond butter will make it’s way onto your butt. Once I started cutting out all the little “extras” I really began to see a difference in my weight. I am convinced this alone is what has helped me get off my last, stubborn bit of baby bulge.
Granola/Granola Style Bars
Store-bought granola can be swimming in fats, oils, sugars, and salt. The dried fruit alone can add up to a ton of calories. Instead, make your own raw trail mix to satisfy the urge to crunch. Combine a few raw walnuts, almonds, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, and a pinch of dried coconut for an occasional sweet surprise. Udi’s gluten-free granola is a healthy store-bought option.
For a homemade (and healthy!) version of your favorite granola, try this yummy coconut & sunflower seed granola that I love to whip up at home from a blog called The Roasted Root!
Coconut & Sunflower Granola:
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cups raw walnuts
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax seed and water. Allow it to stand for 10 minutes, or until mixture is thick and egg-like.
- Add the walnuts and cashews to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to chop the nuts - avoid grinding the nuts into a flour.
- Add flax mixture to a large mixing bowl, along with the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together until well combined.
- Add the chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, and cranberries to the bowl with the wet mixture and stir well until everything is coated.
- Spread the granola mixture over one large baking sheet, and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once after 20 minutes. (My granola took 35 minutes on the dot. Do be sure to keep an eye on the granola, as it burns very easily).
- Remove the granola from the oven and do not stir! Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before touching it.
- Using a spatula or wooden spoon, break up the granola into desired chunk sizes.
- Serve granola with yogurt, almond milk, berries, and/or banana.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.