Mmmmm, sweet potato fries. As good as natural sweet potatoes are for you, frying them is not so great for you. Whether we like it or not, it’s not enough to simply buy healthy foods – you have to properly cook them in order to keep their original good intentions intact.
The good news is that there are yummy foods that are undeniably good for you as is. A piece of dark chocolate doesn’t need any fanciness added to taste amazing. But are there items we’ve gotten a little too comfortable with futzing with, to the detriment of their added health value?
Here are nine sins you’ve gotta look out for:
If you’re at the fair, searching for a healthy-ish treat and you stumble upon a caramel apple, then yes – that’s probably one of your best options in a sea of fried oreos and funnel cake. But in day-to-day life, it’s best to keep your apples plain. Fruit already has a natural sweetness that’s hopefully enough to curb further cravings. Calories in an apple? 95. Added caramel? You’re looking at heading into the 600s.
Oftentimes, the word “seasoned” will give you pause… as it should! While many seasoning items are fine, you have to take note of what exactly is going into whatever kind of seasoning is being used. On their own, almonds are – duh – awesome. But adding flavorings (like all those tempting Blue Diamonds at the grocery store) just packs on unneeded or wanted calories and sugar. If you’re going to cheat – at least make it worth it by eating something amazing and homemade!
DIPPING SAUCES, LIKE MAYO, FOR ARTICHOKES
Shocking to noone, artichoke dip – a menu favorite at many chain restaurants – is not great for you. Yes, it’s got an awesome green vegetable in it… somewhere, swimming in cheese. Sadly, the bad artichoke accessories don’t stop there. Mayo has become a popular side item for your artichoke dish, often served in yummy flavors like lemon herb and basil. But adding this side to your veggie is a little like taking a perfectly good piece of grilled chicken and slathering it in BBQ. You’re taking something perfectly awesome for you and making it so much less so. And believe me, I understand how tough that is. There is nothing I love more than a good dipping sauce – hello, chipotle mayo! – but if you can resist, it’s best to keep your veggies without mayo accompaniment.
FRIED SWEET POTATOES
Yes, ordering those sweet potato fries over the regular stuff is a bit better for you. But either way, it’s always best to avoid any fried items. As The Huffington Post explains “One of the biggest issues is the temperature of the oil as a fried food cooks: Not hot enough, and your food absorbs excess oil, leading to extra calories and fat on your plate. Your batter or breading could also absorb extra oil, not to mention certain oils are more nutritious than others to begin with.”
Try them baked for a still-delicious and still-healthy snack.
Raisins are great for you because they have tons of fiber, iron, vitamin C and a hearty dose of potassium. However, when you add yogurt – which we know to be healthy in some forms on its own – you’re simply taking two healthy items and making them less so.
Blueberries, because of their high levels of antioxidants for very few calories, are an excellent choice for meal decoration. But you’ve gotta be careful when grabbing that quick blueberry muffin to go and thinking you’re getting all of it’s added benefits. Because there’s something lurking in many processed blueberry treats: impostors. These blueberry impostors are made with sugar, corn syrup, starch, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors and — of course — artificial food dye blue No. 2 and red No. 40, according to an LA Times report.
Yes, popcorn is a low-calorie, high-fiber, antioxidant-rich snack that is surprisingly nutritious… if you air pop your own. But if you’re grabbing some at the local cinema or even popping your own from a store bought box, you risk taking in buttery stuff that will set you back 148 calories, 216 milligrams of sodium and 8 grams of fat.
ADDING “FRUIT” TO YOGURT
Yogurt packs both protein and calcium and is an all-around great breakfast option. But not every yogurt option at the grocery store is a winning pick – “those fruit-on-the-bottom varieties pose a particular problem: High fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners,” according to The Huffington Post. Your best bet? Pick up a plain variety and mix in your own real fruit and nuts.
SEASONING KALE CHIPS
Kale is the most popular salad green on the block, and for good reason! It tastes great in a variety of forms including making for a tasty, crunchy snack. Like most things, making your own at home is way healthier though. Why? That “thick, gunky coating of unidentifiable flavorings”, according to our friends at HuffPost Taste. “Depending on the flavor they’re going for, manufacturers may add a heftier dose of sodium or sugar than you’d top your homemade batch with.”
What are your favorite stay-healthy superfood recipes? You’re best “cheat day” item?
Source: The Huffington Post