I’m sure somewhere on your list of New Years resolutions there’s something in there about eating healthier. This can get tricky with all the false advertising out there, so I wanted to help you out. Ideally, I recommend filling your diet with whole foods and avoiding packaged foods all together, but if you’re in need of something convenient, or are slowly transitioning off packaged foods, there’s some misleading labels you may come across. I’ve picked 5 foods on my list of sneaky sugar culprits. These are foods that claim to be “healthy” foods, but are secretly packed with sugar. Here’s the list and how to out smart the sneaky food industry.
1. Yogurt: the last couple of years you’ve probably notice the buzz word “greek yogurt” hitting the shelves. If a yogurts Greek, then it’s healthy right?? false. Read your labels for yogurt. Try to stick to a yogurt that has higher protein then sugar, and keeping the sugar under 5g per serving (some have more than 15g!) The reason Greek yogurt became popular is because of its high protein count. This is due to the way Greek yogurt is strained. Most people aren’t crazy about the plain, sour flavor so company’s have tried to disguise it with flavors (aka sugar).
- take away: buy Plain, Non-fat greek yogurt and flavor it yourself with a drizzle of honey, cinnamon, or fresh fruit! Also try it with some overnight oats! (recipe on my website)
2. Sauces & Dressings: You may think you’re making the healthy choice with your salad or your grilled chicken, but have you ever read the label of that creamy salad dressing, or the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce? Well most of these sauces and dressings have sugar listed as the second or third ingredient, which means there’s quite a bit in there.
- take away: Choose a sauce & dressing that has few ingredients, vinaigrettes are usually the better choice, or even better, whip up your own dressings! Choose recipes with no added sugar.
3. Granola/Protein Bars & Granola: What could be more convenient than a granola bar on the go? healthy, satisfying, and tastes great! but is it really that healthy? Have you read the labels? most are packed with preservatives and sugar. And 1/2 cup of granola can have more than 15g of sugar! Thats almost half of your entire days intake. Luckily, there are some great companies out there that have provided some healthy & convenient options for us busy & healthy people on the go.
- take away: Stick with a bar that has more protein than sugar, and try to keep the sugar under 7g. (some I recommend- Quest bars, Kind bars, Power Crunch bars) And Granola can be a healthy, energy packed snack if you get sugar free, or make it yourself and alter the recipe for a low sugar option (try the recipe on my website!)
4. Fruit Juice: You want to start your day with a nice tall glass of orange juice to get in all those vitamins right? Well did you know that a glass of orange juice is equivalent to about 4 oranges, and usually has more than 20g of sugar! You mine as well eat a donut for breakfast, or two.
- take away: replace fruit juices with real fruit! you will consume less sugar, you’ll still get a healthy dose of vitamins, and you will benefit from the fiber as well.
5. “Smoothies”: smoothies are an awesome way to pack lots of goodness in one glass, whether its an on-the-go breakfast or a post workout convenience. Beware of the sugar! If you’ve looked at Jamba juices nutrition facts, which they provide, a small fruit smoothie can have about 70g of sugar! They actually have improved there menu and now offer a “light” option, which have about 1/2 the sugar. When making your own smoothies, you don’t need 5 fruits and juice in their. Try adding vegetables for bulk and vitamins.
- take away: choose the “light” option on the menu, or preferably, make your own. Opt for 1-2 pieces of fruits (1/2 frozen banana is always a must for me), skip the fruit juice, use unsweetened almond milk or water if you can instead. Add nuts & green vegetables for healthy fats and to pack in the nutrients.
Well there you have it! You’re ready to go out into the world and make healthy choices, and out smarting the sneaky “healthy food” industry.