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Navigating the grocery aisles has become an increasingly complex task, with the overwhelming options all fighting for your attention. If you’re trying to eat healthy and stock up on “healthy foods,” you have to pay extra attention to make sure you’re choosing the right items. Just because something claims to be healthy doesn’t mean it really is. These foods may seem healthy, but they aren’t.
1. Dried Fruit
Fruits are a good source of essential vitamins and nutrients. They’re also a great addition to your meals because they are colorful and add flavor and texture to your meals. However, you have to be careful when buying dried fruit. Most of them are sweetened with sugar – and lots of it. If you want to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fruits, eat them fresh and avoid the candied ones.
2. Granola and Granola Bars
Granola and granola bars have become the face of ‘healthy foods’. So, many people wanting to eat healthier have incorporated them into their daily dietary routine. But while not all granolas and granola bars are the same – and there are some nutritious ones – it’s crucial to read the labels to ensure you don’t get the ones with tons of added sugar and calories. Instead of buying premade granola and granola bars, make your own at home using wholesome ingredients, such as nuts, rolled oats, and natural sweeteners like honey and fruits.
3. Sweetened Yogurt
An average cup of sweetened yogurt contains 30 grams of sugar. That’s more than you would get from a chocolate bar. So don’t be deceived by false advertising. If you want to incorporate yogurt into your healthy diet, choose Greek Yogurt instead and mix in your own fruits and natural sweeteners.
4. Protein Bars and Drinks
Marketing protein as an essential part of a healthy diet is something manufacturers of protein drinks and bars are trying to capitalize on. While you definitely need protein in your daily diet, you can get it from healthier sources, like eggs, beans, and lean meat. Try to limit your intake of protein bars and shakes. As long as you eat a balanced diet, there is no need to supplement your protein intake.
5. Wheat Bread
Whether you’re trying to control your carb intake or eat healthy in general, most people are switching to wheat bread from traditional white bread. But unless bread is made of 100% whole wheat, it still has enriched flour and sugar without any nutritional value. The best option is to look for a fiber-rich bread made of 100% whole wheat or multi-grain bread. Be particularly cautious about the first two ingredients on the label list.
6. Caesar Salad
When most people hear the word ‘salad,’ they automatically assume it’s healthy. Caesar salad is one of those you have to watch out for. It’s undeniable that Romaine lettuce (the base ingredient for Caesar Salads) is good for you; It’s rich in vitamins and minerals. But beyond the lettuce, you must be extra careful, especially with the dressing. The dressing is usually high in fat, and the cheese is high in calories. Even the croutons are an ingredient that might be bad for you. Switch to grilled chicken strips and balsamic vinegar dressing for a healthier salad.
7. Fruit Juice
Aside from eating dried fruit, drinking fruit juices is another common health trap you should know about. Most bottled juices are not made of 100% fruit juice. If you read the label closely, you’ll find that these bottled juices contain sugar, other synthetic ingredients, and barely any real juice on them at all. When buying your fruit juice, make sure it is made of 100% real juice.
8. Sports Water
Fruit juices aren’t the only beverage you should be careful of. You should also steer clear of so-called sports water. The allure is clear: water filled with essential vitamins and nutrients. It’s unsurprising why many are rushing to buy them. But the reality is that most don’t contain vitamins and minerals; they contain sugar and unhealthy calories. It’s best to stick to drinking water instead (it is cheaper, too.).
9. Processed Organic Foods
There is a misconception that any food labeled as ‘organic’ is healthier. However, highly processed organic foods are still highly processed. They are still filled with preservatives and things most people would not seek out to be part of their dinner.
10. Sushi Rolls
Traditional sushi roll ingredients, such as fish, rice, and seaweed, are generally healthy. However, you can find many Westernized sushi versions packed with unhealthy ingredients. For example, a Philadelphia roll contains salmon, cream cheese, and spicy mayo sauce. A serving of this roll contains 500 calories (equivalent to a Big Mac.). If you want your sushi to be healthy, stick to sashimi instead. Avoid crunchy sushi rolls, too. They have fried elements that add more calories to each serving.
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This article first appeared on The Gracious Pantry.