Yes, the right choice can be wrong. Junk in disguise is everywhere. Foods you thought to be healthy, can come back to bite you. Don’t be duped! Check out the most common culprits below:
- Enhanced Water
Enhanced drinks claim to be packed full of vitamins, and that may be true. But the sugar content cancels out the benefits. Our dietitians have called beverages such as Vitamin Water “soda with vitamins”. Get your vitamins from the foods you eat, not a pricey drink.
Healthy alternative: If you follow us on Instagram (@zagdining), we posted a photo of our ice cold fruit water served in the COG. Students rave about this drink! The water contains garden-fresh lemons, oranges and even ginger. Spa menu worthy without any added sugar. Win – Win!
- Energy Bars
Bars are said to be the solution to weight-loss, sleep-deprivation, you name it! But they have a dark side. They are a packed full of calories. Many are simply a candy bar with healthy additives such as protein and fiber. Uncover the junk in disguise by looking at the nutrition facts. Is sugar the first or second ingredient? Put it down.
Healthy alternative: For those trying to build muscle, pick up Greek yogurt or spread almond butter on a banana for a punch of protein. For energy, eat leafy greens to increase your iron. Iron deficiency, common in many adults, can cause extreme fatigue.
- Baked Crackers
While ‘baked’ chips and crackers may seem healthier, they are filled with refined starches and grains. Refined ingredients have more calories than nutrients. Even pita chips contain refined flour, oils and salts. Baked crackers are calorie bombs!
Healthy alternative: Look for 100% whole grain chips fried in a healthy oil (canola or olive). Make sure the crackers are made with whole grains instead of potatoes.
Microwavable popcorn, often praised as a healthy snack, has a scary secret… the chemicals in the lining of the bag. These dangerous chemicals can seep into your popcorn. They have even been linked to cancer and infertility in humans, according to a UCLA study.
Healthy alternative: The healthier (and cheaper) option is to pop your own kernels in a skillet or popper. Add any flavoring, and feel confident in knowing exactly what you’re getting.
Have you ever watched the clerk make a store-bought smoothie? Rarely do they use real fruit. A powder or pre-packaged syrup is used to create an ‘all-fruit smoothie’. You’re getting sugary juice instead of real fruit and veggies in your smoothie.
Healthy alternative: Save calories and money by making your own fruit smoothies. If you’re not a fan of veggies, this is a great way to sneak greens into your diet such as kale or spinach. You’ll only taste the fruit!
These are just a few junk food culprits. It’s easy for foods to disguise themselves under product marketing. So read past the gimmicks and into the nutrition facts. Or just play it safe and make your own snacks. Customizable and more affordable, you can let your creativity run wild!