It’s difficult enough to maintain a healthy diet during the school year and it is possible to sabotage your nutrition without knowing what is in your food.
Some foods may appear to be healthy but a look at the ingredient list can reveal deception. Hidden in the nutritional facts are added sodium, sugar, carbohydrates and useless calories ready to derail your efforts at maintaining your health.
Here are five phony foods that you should avoid when trying to eat healthy:
1. Granola Bars & Cereal (from buzzfeed.com)
The quintessential healthy snack, granola bars are diet-busters in disguise.
Granola bars may be full of whole grains, nuts and fruits, but most are high in sugar and carbohydrates, thanks to the syrup and butter spreads used on them.
Check the nutritional value before picking up another box at the grocery store, or make your own at home.
2. Diet Soda (from stronglifts.com)
Most people know regular soda is not a good choice but diet soda seems like a much healthier alternative. Some of them even have zero calories. Even if you have switched to diet soda in an attempt to cut down on soda itself, you may want to give it up as well.
Diet soda may not have any natural sugar in it, but it is loaded with artificial sweeteners and sodium that can be potentially harmful to your body. Diet sodas also have little to no nutritional value; it is best to stay away from sodas of any kind.
3. Juice (from stronglifts.com)
What could be better than juice? It seems like an easy way to get your daily amount of fruit servings, but a lot of store-bought juice comes from concentrate and, like granola bars, is full of added sugars, completely negating the nutritional benefits.
Aim for freshly-squeezed juice instead of store-bought to avoid these pitfalls, or spring for a juicer to make your own juice at home out of your favorite fruits and vegetables.
4. Salads (from buzzfeed.com)
Nothing seems healthier than eating a salad. Salads may seem like the healthiest option but unless it is dark green, lettuce does not have much nutritional value, and most people who eat salads load them with dressing, bacon bits, cheese and much more.
If you want to make your salad healthier, add better alternatives to it like grilled chicken, fresh fruits and raw vegetables. Avoid dressing altogether, even the fat-free variety.
5. Tea Drinks (from msnbc.msn.com)
If you can’t drink soda, tea seems like a healthy alternative, right? Only if it’s from actual tea leaves. Packaged tea drinks are almost as detrimental as soda, full of added sugar, sodium and carbohydrates that add hundreds of empty calories to your daily intake.
If you still want an alternative to water, brew your own loose-leaf tea at home and avoid adding sugar to it. If you must sweeten it, try a little honey or milk instead.
Eating healthy is definitely a commitment. You have to be aware of what you’re putting into your body, and there are many deceptive options out there that are anything but healthy.
Remember to check the label before purchasing something, and go for homemade options when you can to ensure there is nothing unnecessary added to your food.