Surely we all know by now that the Food Industry has only one thing top of mind – and that’s to make money. So they do a great job of making factory-made items appear that they’re good for us when in fact they’re highly processed. Here are just a few items that are touted as “healthy foods” that, when you take a look at the ingredients, you’ll see really aren’t!
For a video version of this content scroll to the bottom.
1) Store Bought Granola Bars
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These cereal bars have a picture of strawberries on the front, but the only thing “strawberry” about them is natural and artificial strawberry “flavoring.” The bars actually contain dried pieces of cranberries disguised as strawberries, and that’s fairly misleading if you ask me. These bars also contain their fair share of refined grains, corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oil (aka trans fat) – no, thank you!
2) Flavored Yogurt Tubes Back in the day when I bought these for the first time (thanks to a coupon, of course) my husband said, “Why, are you buying this junk food?” I replied, “Junk food? How is yogurt junk food?” But as it turns out these are really just sugary yogurt pops filled with juice and some additives I would not cook with at home (including carrageenan). There’s certainly no whole fruit – like what’s pictured on the front – to be found.
Instead: Make your own by blending together plain yogurt with real fruit (and even greens if you’d like) to make smoothies that you store in the freezer in these reusable smoothie/yogurt pop molds. Little Green Pouches (use coupon code 100DAYS20OFF to save 20%!) and Zipzicles are other good options as well. –
3) Organic (Sweetened) Tea There’s nothing wrong with just plain tea, but there is something wrong with 4 1/2 teaspoons of refined sugar in just one bottle when the maximum daily allowance of sugar is 6 teaspoons for women and 3 for children (just for comparison sake).
Instead: Buy unsweetened organic iced tea and sweeten it yourself with half the amount of sugar (or honey!) instead. –
4) Flavored Oatmeal Packets This is not the first time I’ve picked on these Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets. I just hate how they take a perfectly good 1-ingredient whole food (oats!) and muck it up with fake strawberries (which are really dried apple pieces doused in artificial strawberry flavoring and dye) and a bunch of other questionable additives you would never cook with at home, including partially hydrogenated oil (aka trans fat).
Instead: Buy plain rolled oats and make your own oatmeal in minutes with fresh, wholesome ingredients in minutes! Here’s our favorite hot oatmeal recipe and also our favorite (cold) overnight oats recipe as well. –
5) Slim Fast Shake Mix This has probably helped some people out there lose weight, but I doubt it’s helped make them any “healthier.” The first ingredient (and what it contains the most of) is sugar – the same ingredient that Mark Bittman says is “probably the most dangerous part of our current diet.” (!!) And I pretty much would never cook with any of the rest of the highly processed additives they put into this powder – including two different artificial sweeteners (acesulfame potassium and aspartame).
Instead: You can lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight) without yucky-tasting diet powders and the trick (in addition to eating real food) is portion control. Long story short – Eat a variety of whole foods (including plenty of vegetables) and stop eating when you feel full! –
6) 100 Calorie Packs This is another item that gives the impression of helping with weight loss – it’s too bad all calories are NOT created equal! This is basically a box of (mostly) refined grains and even includes something called “corn syrup solids” in addition to artificial colors and MSG. Still sound appetizing?
Instead: Eat a whole food snack like roasted nuts or 100% whole grain pretzels or crackers. –
7) Powerade This drink is boasts a combination of water, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial dye. Why do people have the impression these highly processed additives are part of what you need to rehydrate after a workout?
Instead: Drink water! Unless you are a marathoner water will likely do the trick. If you are worried about getting electrolytes look into coconut water or make your own homemade gatorade. Smoothies (made from whole foods) are another great post-workout drink as well – along with that water of course.
News Video: 7 “Healthy” Foods – That Really Aren’t
I also shared this line-up on our local Charlotte Today show yesterday for those who’d prefer to see it in video form. Random Note: I accidentally said “harder said than done,” but hopefully it’s obvious I meant to say “easier said than done!” Oh the joys of live TV :)