Choose a fruit or vegetable and you know it is good for you. Not so easy with other foods. Some have gotten a healthy designation when they are not so healthy. Granola bars are an example.
Choose a fruit or vegetable and you know it is good for you. Not so easy with other foods.
Some have gotten a healthy designation when they are not so healthy. Take a look at five examples.
Granola bars. These bars got their healthy reputation as the mountain hiker's snack of choice. Some bars are full of nuts, seeds, whole oats and other nutritious foods. Other granola bars are covered in chocolate or loaded with chocolate chips and artificial ingredients, but aren't much better than eating a candy bar. The best granola bars contain the following:
4 grams or more fiber
6 grams or less sugar
5 grams or less total fat with unsaturated poly- and mono-fat the preferred source
6 grams protein or more
You don't have to go to a health food store to find a healthy version. One example available at the grocery store is the Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bar Dark Mocha Almond; it meets these recommendations and tastes great, too!
Tea drinks. These drinks are touted for their antioxidant power. The phytonutrients in tea leaves may help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and slow the growth of cancer cells. But tea drinks are not the same as brewed tea. Many bottled teas consist of little brewed tea and enough added sugar to rival regular soda pop. If you must drink bottled tea, look for one that lists brewed tea as the first ingredient and has less than 5 grams added sugar per serving. Or you can brew your own tea to enjoy.
Muffins. Morning muffins evoke a warm kitchen filled with the aroma of a home-baked goods. Bran or blueberry muffins sound healthy, but the problem with the muffin of today is the sheer size. Do you remember the muffins of the past that were about the size of a lemon? Today's baseball-sized muffin adds 500 calories or more with more than 20 grams of fat. If you must enjoy a muffin, choose a smaller muffin made with real fruit and whole grain flour. Or try a different variety, such as a whole-grain, high-fiber English muffin with a light layer of peanut butter.
100-calorie cookies or snack foods. These snackssound like a big help on a healthy eating plan. You can have a measured portion of a favorite food, and certainly this is much better than consuming a sleeve of Chips Ahoy Cookies. But remember what a portion is: one 100-calorie pack, not four at one sitting. And keep in mind that most of these foods fall in the empty-calorie food category, void of any nutritional value. If you must include these foods, watch your portion size and balance with more healthy foods
Frozenyogurt. This sounds like a wonderful choice. Yogurt is a healthy food for us because it contains live and active cultures, which are good for our intestines and our immune system. But the fact is that not all frozen yogurt is the same, and some may contain just as many fat calories as regular ice cream with minimal calcium content. Look for frozen yogurt with live, active cultures and lower fat content or about 5 grams of fat or less per serving.
Sara Lopinski, MS, LDN, is a registered dietitian for the HSHS Medical Group Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health in Springfield, Ill.