We often think we are making a healthy choice when we go to the store and pick up some healthy food alternative to this chips or cookies. However, when we don’t eat healthy food the right way, consequences can be just the same as if we had gone with a less healthy alternative in the first place. Another classic scenario: going through the lunch line or the fridge and making that huge green salad to “balance” with that hefty Chicken Alfredo. But “balancing,” if you will, does not mean “my salad cancels out the Chicken Alfredo.”
Here are some caution alerts for your next grocery expedition:
- Apples are delicious! Not to mention they’re also full of fiber, which satisfies your hunger better than foods not so fiber rich, and the skin is loaded with vitamins A,C, calcium, potassium, folate, and iron. This is exactly why you should not peel the skin off of an apple! When baking, cooking, or just simply eating, leave the skin on the apple in order to obtain all its nutrients.
2. Dried Fruit.
- Dried fruit is a wonderful, nutrient-packed alternative to chips or pretzels. At least, when it’s not covered in sugar. Before plucking a bag of dried fruit – or tropical trail mix – off of the self, check the package for any added sugars or any hydrogenated preservatives. Sometimes you can tell by looking at the fruit in the bag, sometimes looking even crystallized with sugar.
- Although the traditional method for cooking broccoli is to boil it, it sucks out almost all nutritional value and it isn’t the healthiest cooking method. Instead, lightly steam them or saute them for only a few minutes until the stems are lightly softened and produce a bring green color.
4. Peanut Butter.
- While peanut butter is a great pre-workout snack and source of quick protein, peanut butter should only be what it implies: butter made from peanuts. Not butter made from peanuts, hydrogenated oils, added sugar, and salt. Avoid unnecessary fats and calories by opting for an all natural, organic peanut butter or make your own using a food processor!
- Beans are jam packed with proteins and fiber, low in fat and inexpensive! It can’t get much better than that. However, most beans come in cans lined with BPA, a chemical recently linked to cancer, heart disease, and early puberty. Canned beans also tend to be high in sodium. Instead of buying canned beans, pick up some of your own beans to soak and boil, or choose a BPA-free can or beans in a box (recommended: Fig Food Company and Eden BPA-free beans).
5. Sweet Potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are one of my all time favorite foods! They are very high in vitamin A, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. And although I admit I have an obscene obsession for sweet potato fries myself, they are certainly not the best approach to healthy eating, as fried foods pile on way more fat and calories than the food alone could ever provide. Try teaming diced chunks, or making your own sweet potato chips by roasting them!