Be careful out there…
The shops can be a dangerous place for being misled about what is, and what is not healthy food.
Some foods can be healthy, and then someone does something to it, as in the case of the poor potato.
A medium sized potato with skin on is only 110 calories, has no fat or sodium, has more potassium than a banana, provides half your daily need of vitamin C, is a great source of vitamin B6, fibre, magnesium and antioxidants.
What a list, all good stuff!
And then someone chops them up and throws them in a deep fryer with bad trans fats and serves them with heaps of salt.
Now we all know that a baked potato is healthy compared to a bowl of potato fries, aka chips, but be warned there are foods out there sitting on the supermarket shelves that are full of bad stuff and we happily throw them into our shopping basket, because we think we’re being healthy.
Here are some of the culprits to be wary of.
2. Tomato Ketchup
If you’re like me, when I buy a bowl of chips, then tomato ketchup is the first thing that I grab.
Why? because I love it on my chips.
And it’s healthy, isn’t it? It’s made of tomatoes. Yes, but how much tomato is actually in it?
Also, I never realised how much sugar it had, the one on my shelf has 25.5g per 100ml.
A single tablespoon of Ketchup has 1 tablespoon of sugar!
And what about the salt (Sodium)?
It appears that if you choose a low sugar version of tomato ketchup then you get more salt and vice versa. So, you need to choose wisely depending on what you’re trying to avoid. Too much sugar or too much salt. Apparently, they don’t make low sugar and low salt, so if you want that, then you may have to create your own.
Remember that all brands and apparently different countries, vary in the amounts of sugar and salt in their ketchup, so check it out for yourself next time you’re at the shops and be careful how much you squeeze on top of your bowl of chips.
3. Enhanced Water
Now how about a bottle of water to wash my chips down with?
Beware of the so called “healthy water,” which is enhanced with vitamins and minerals and who knows what else.
What else indeed. Typically, these enhanced water contain added sugar, sweeteners, artificial flavours as well as vitamins and minerals, hydroxy citric acid, chromium, epigallocatechin gallate.
My preference, every time, is pure water, either filtered or bottled. I prefer to enhance the flavour myself, not with sugar but with lemon or lime, mint, strawberries and green apples. All of which will add essential vitamins and minerals to make a refreshing drink at any time of the day, even when I’m chowing down on a bowl of chips.
4. Frozen Yogurt
So, what about desert?
If you think skipping the full fat ice cream in favour of frozen yogurt is a healthier option, think again. Some frozen yogurts are laden with sugar, more so than the full fat ice cream.
Also, beware, frozen yogurt sometimes comes with syrups added as well as marshmallows and lollies, all of which add extra sugar.
Whichever you choose, remember to enjoy a small portion. Treat yourself occasionally, you deserve it, just have one scoop rather than two, and your body will thank you.
Maybe you prefer a muffin desert instead of frozen yogurt or ice cream. This would probably be my choice after a meal, along with a cup of tea, I am English after all.
But is it healthy for me?
Well a lot will depend on the type of muffin, Chocolate Chip or Blueberry wholegrain) and the size of it. Muffins seem to be getting bigger and bigger, especially when they’re on the breakfast menu.
You choose… 22g of sugar in a small 66g blueberry muffin vs 24g of sugar in a small 100g vanilla frozen yogurt.
If you’re seriously thinking about being health then you’re better off going with a small 149g Apple, which has 15g of sugar. And leave both the frozen yogurt and muffin for a special occasion only. The natural fibre in the apple also helps with slow release of the sugar, so you don’t get a sugar spike after eating it.
6. Frozen Pre-Prepared Meals
Long day at the office?
“Sometimes I don’t want to eat out, I just want to stay home, but I don’t have the time or the energy to cook.” I hear you, and these pre-prepared meals are a life saver.
The important thing to look at when you’re deciding on whether to purchase a frozen pre-prepared meal is what’s exactly in it.
You must check the ingredients list as well as the nutrition label, because some of them are full of extra sugar, including artificial sweeteners, trans fats and salt (sodium).
Other things to check for is the list of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
People have successfully lost weight using pre-prepared frozen meals and this is largely due to the portion control, which means they’ve eaten fewer calories.
I don’t think these meals are better than a fresh home cooked meal made from whole food ingredients, however, for us busy people, sometimes it’s easier to pull one out of the freezer and stick it in the microwave. The benefit really is its convenience.
If chosen well, your frozen pre-prepared meal, would most likely be healthier than a typical take away meal. I just wouldn’t make a habit of it.
In summary, I would recommend that you always read the labels when it comes to any non, whole-food that is marketed as “healthy” or “light” and where someone has done something to it, that is, if it’s been processed in some way.
Don’t be tricked by the marketers, get your reading glasses on and check those labels before you throw something “healthy” into your shopping basket.
To your success,
Note: “Essential Nutrition Tips” does not offer medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have medical concerns please consult your doctor. See Full Disclaimer.