Do you fall into the trap of buying food & drinks that have the word “diet” or “light” in front of it thinking you’re being a healthy influence on your family? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are so many foods out there that try to come across as a healthier choice, but in the end they are just as bad, if not worse than their unhealthy alternative.
All we want is to provide our families with better choices so they can live a long and healthy life… so why do these brands have to try and pull a fast one on us? That’s the power of good advertising and selective word choice. Always make sure you’re reading the ingredients on your groceries before spending a pretty penny on these “diet” foods. Here are a few things that may make you think twice about what you’re putting in you and your family’s stomachs.
1. LIGHT SALAD DRESSING
As depressing as this is, we all know the best part of the salad just happens to be the most fattening. Dressing on a salad is like adding chocolate to your fruit. Our bodies won’t fall for our brains tricking us into thinking our healthy choice of food isn’t being tainted by a not-so-healthy topping. While we think choosing a “light” dressing will help reduce the amount of calories we’re taking in, in reality, we’re only cheating ourselves even more.
In order for food companies to maintain the flavor and yumminess of regular salad dressing while cutting down half the calories, they have to include a ton of other additives. These extra ingredients are detrimental to our bodies and are a way to trick people into thinking they’re making a healthy choice. In reality, your best bet for dressing your salad is a nice blend of olive oil and vinegar. A yummy way to add some good fats into your meal without sacrificing your health or the flavor of a refreshing salad!
2. FLAVORED YOGURTS
While flavored yogurts are a nostalgic and delicious snack, especially for the kid’s, their reputation for a heathy choice isn’t as accurate as we might hope. When it comes down to it, adding a flavoring to anything hurts the nutritional value of it. When a fruity flavor addition is included in yogurt, it debunks any sort of good nutrients that you would have been getting if you were to chose a low-fat plain yogurt instead.
One way to add some pizazz to your healthy plain yogurt is to take it home and add some natural flavoring, like crushed fruit, yourself. That way, you are in control of how much additional sugar you are adding to your snack. By doing so, you’re ultimately saving yourself from 10+ grams of additional sugar you didn’t need and most likely didn’t want in the first place.
3. SPINACH PASTA
However, don’t let the look of this carb-o-load of goodness fool you… just because it’s green, doesn’t mean it’s lean. Companies should might as well call this green colored pasta, instead of fabricating the use of the word Spinach. There is actually so little spinach in the making of these delicious noodles, that their nutritional value is next to none and you certainly will not reap the benefits of having an actual serving of spinach. In the end, the additives really mask and ruin anything good about the pasta noodles themselves. Not worth it! Unless you’re having a St. Patrick’s day party and want to create an awesome themed party dish ?
4. PROTEIN BARS
A tale as old as time… smart advertising tricking people into thinking they are buying something healthy. You may be quick to stock up on bars like these because they’re quick and easy to throw in a lunchbox. However, just because the label on the box says “packed with 10+ grams of protein” doesn’t mean it’s healthy and certainly not the same thing as eating 10 grams of grilled chicken. While not all protein bars are the enemy, some being actual good meal replacements, especially for those active fellas & wild children with the energy of the energizer bunny… there are definitely some candy bars on the market labeling themselves as a protein bar.
In the end, make sure you’re reading those labels carefully. 10 grams of protein doesn’t trump the negative nutritional value of 14 grams of sugar – remember that!
5. Bottled Fruit Smoothies
Breakfast smoothies like Bolthouse farms sure are tasty and it’s not a challenge to chug a bottle without thinking twice. They’re also super convenient to throw in our kids’ hands as they’re walking out the door in the morning or for a mid-day snack when you’re just not mentally prepared to make dinner yet. While they’re made with real fruit, it’s common for people to mistake them as a low calorie option. This unfortunately is not the case. We all know fruit has sugar – so squeezing together 19 strawberries and a whole banana into a drink gives your kids almost 4 full servings of fruit in one bottle.
That’s a lot of sugar… and a whole lot of extra energy they didn’t need. While these yummy drinks are a much healthier alternative than a chocolatey drink, you just have to be careful how much and what time of day you’re giving these to your family.
6. DIET SODA
Adding “diet” in front of their product name is a smart marketing tactic by these soda companies. While the bubbly goodness is too good to pass up, we all know the damaging affects to drinking too much soda. Whether it’s the idea of having soda as a treat or they actually like the taste, kids unfortunately love this stuff. Advertising a drink that has just as good of a taste, that is zero calories seems too good to be true. And unfortunately, it is. Diet soda is just as bad, if not worse for you. Like most “lite” or “diet” things, in order to maintain the right amount of flavor while sacrificing the calories, there needs to be a lot of additional ingredients. These additives include a ton of different and harmful artificial sweeteners.
My suggestion is to dump the soda all together, and grab yourself some flavored seltzer waters. You get the feeling of the carbonation and the yummy taste of a sugary drink without the negative side effects and your kids will love it. A win-win!
So there you have it people, foods that you thought were healthy, that really aren’t the best choices. It is so important to make the right health decisions when it comes to you and your family’s bodies and to remember what might work for someone else, may not work for you. Do your research and make the best decision for your family.