With new health foods hitting the headlines almost daily, we’ve probably all tried swapping in a few good habits. Anyone who’s tried a kale crisp knows what we mean. But what if some of the food we’re made to think is better for us actually isn’t? And what if – dare we say it – it’s just as bad or even worse?
As it’s Healthy Eating Week (10th – 14th June) we thought we’d chew this one over. From snacks to salads, we’ve picked out a few food offenders and included some healthier suggestions to keep you on the right track.
Mid-morning stomach rumbles call for a quick pick-me-up. But if you’re avoiding a biscuit with your brew, watch out for some of the supposedly healthy shop-bought alternatives. Whole food snacks such as energy balls and raw fruit bars may be more nutritious, but they can still contain gut-busting amounts of fats and sugars (even if they do come from more natural sources). These treats are best enjoyed in moderation – much like that chocolate digestive.
Cut the calories by making these Low Fat Cinnamon Balls.
With fruit as their main ingredients, smoothies are a great way to get some of your 5-a-day, right? Hold up – before you get guzzling, take a moment to check the sugar content of your chosen bottle as some might have as much as a glazed doughnut. Yikes!
While they do have vitamins, minerals and fibre too, it’s better for you (and your wallet) to get these benefits from whole fruit and veg rather than the blitzed varieties. Save smoothies for a once-in-a-while treat – and try making them at home so you know what’s in them.
Not so slimming salads
Feeling virtuous for resisting the temptation to order a burger as you munch your way through a salad? Well, it turns out some salads can be equally bad news for your waistline thanks to sneaky high-calorie additions.
We all know that green leaves and crunchy veggies are the good guys. But add in croutons, bacon bits, fried chicken, chunks of cheese and a creamy dressing and you’re looking at a calorie content that’s not far off the average burger and fries. Still, order the salad, but watch out for those high-fat toppings before polishing your halo.
Junk food vegan
It’s one of the fastest growing food trends in the UK, but if you think all vegan meals equal a healthy option, think again. A quick scan of the ingredients could reveal sugars and fats aplenty, dashing any hopes of a fast and nourishing feast.
Many convenience foods are highly processed, vegan or not. If you want guaranteed plant-based goodness it’s best to cook from fresh at home (try this quick and delish Veggie Stir Fry– or get real familiar with ingredients labels so you know what to avoid.
Not so naughty but nice
On the flipside, some of our fave foods are better for us then we might think. A full English done right isn’t the bad breakfast it’s cracked up to be. We’re not talking a greasy spoon fry up, but a healthy alternative that looks pretty darn good to us.
Here’s how to make it healthy:
Pick up a few quality bangers or some lean, unsmoked bacon. Grill rather than fry to reduce the overall fat.
Mushrooms, tomatoes and beans all count towards your daily veg intake. Cook fresh veggies at the right temperature to retain goodness.
Lastly, eggs are packed with protein and other goodness. Poached and boiled are best for you, but who can resist the dip-ability of a perfectly fried egg?