Everyone knows that oatmeal is healthier than a bowl of sugary cereal, and salad is better than a juicy burger. But did you know that some so-called healthy foods are just junk food in disguise? Those healthy options at the restaurant and on the grocery shelves are full of calories. Here are some foods to watch out for.
1. Salad Dressings
Salads are made with nutritious vegetables that provide essential nutrients and help you stay on track with your diet. But when you top them with nuts, shredded cheese, croutons and creamy dressings, you can sabotage your diet. Read the labels as some salad dressings pack as much as 300 calories per serving. Stick to sodium-free, light dressings and pay close attention to the serving size.
Your favorite breakfast cereal might be doing more harm than good. Even those high-fiber and fat-free cereals might be loaded with dried fruit, which increases the calorie count. Combine the cereal with whole milk, fresh fruits and nuts and you would have consumed your entire day’s calorie allowance in your morning meal.
3. Frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurt is a favorite spring and summer treat among dieters. But that container of cooling yogurt can be high in calories and sugar especially when you include nuts and syrup. If you love your frozen treats, try to make your own smoothies with fresh or frozen fruits and low-fat yogurt.
4. Dried fruit
Portion for portion, dried fruits contain as much as eight times more calories than their fresh counterparts. Dehydrating the fruits increases density, and since the portions are smaller, you’ll be tempted to eat more. Most popular brands add sugar and other preservatives, which increase the calorie count per serving.
5. Fruit juice
Sugar slows down your metabolism and creates an environment that promotes fat storage. You could reduce your sugar intake if you cut down on sweet drinks. Sodas and sport drinks are obvious culprits, but your favorite 100 percent fruit juice deserves just as much scrutiny. Read the labels and practice moderation because these juices can affect your weight and your health.
6. Dairy foods
Got milk? Dairy is a rich source of calcium, protein and other essential nutrients, but the whole-milk varieties will sabotage your weight loss efforts. Stick to low-fat dairy foods such as skim milk and plain Greek yogurt. Avoid fruit-on-the bottom yogurts; they are high in sugar and they are not as healthy as they seem.
Granola contains heart healthy oats and nuts but added oil and sugar increase the calorie count. A small bowl of granola can pack as much as 500 calories, so unless you make your own, you should scratch granola from your list of healthy foods.
8. Rice cakes
Rice cakes are fat-free and low in calories, but since they also contain no fibre and protein, you’re better off avoiding them. These light, crispy cakes provide no nutritional value, and they won’t do anything to curb hunger. The only benefit you’ll get is the added calories to your daily total, so you might as well choose another low-calorie alternative like kale chips, tuna and wheat thins or dried cranberries.
9. Veggie burgers
Opting for the veggie burger at your favorite food joint should be a smart decision. But depending on the brand, toppings, and the type of bread, you could end up eating more than 800 calories with that simple burger. Some brands use cheese and other unhealthy fats to improve the taste of the burgers, and the thick juicy ones might amount to several portions.
10. Instant diet meals
Diet microwave dinners are designed to simplify healthy eating for people on the go. However, manufacturers use a lot of salt in order to improve the taste. The extra salt promotes water retention and compromises your health. Consider making your own meals, no matter how busy you are. Instant diet meals can seriously damage your weight loss plans as well as your health.
There are many seemingly healthy foods that can wreck your metabolism and the whole diet. With a great variety of so called healthy foods out there, it’s difficult to even know what to eat and what to avoid. Eliminate these 10 foods from your diet or limit your intake of them to reach your health and weight loss goals. Stick with whole foods and cook at home to stay slim and healthy all year round. Are you guilty of eating any of these seemingly healthy foods?