How many times have you overheard someone say, "Oh, you can eat as much of that as you want...it's healthy!"
This phenomenon is one that we've all heard, all been encouraged by, and all deep down knew that something about eating too much of anything doesn't seem quite right.
It's time for a little debunking!
There are a TON of foods out there that have earned the moniker of "healthy" foods. Now, with some of these, sure, there's plenty of nutritional value, but that doesn't make them a "freebie." Don't go overboard! Remember, just because you can't eat and eat and eat something doesn't mean it's absolutely forbidden! Moderation is key.
All I'm saying is, proceed with caution. Too much of these foods are not quite a good thing.
- Dried Fruit: Let me ask you, when was the last time you sat down and ate 5+ fresh apricots in a row? Probably never, so that should say something about eating a handful of dried apricots, or any other fruit for that matter! Dried fruit is a fat trap! It has as much as three times the sugar as fresh fruit and a lot less fiber, not a good combo. This is something many people notoriously grab at places like airports, and the kinds with nuts make it even worse -- there can be 7 to 11 servings in these bags! Instead, I'm sure you can find a fresh piece of fruit, even at the airport.
- Turkey Burgers: I know it seems like a "safe" bet anywhere you go, but for a restaurant turkey burger (I looked at Ruby Tuesday's) you're looking at about 1,214 calories and 65 grams of fat BEFORE you add any cheese or toppings! But turkey burgers are still healthy...if you make them at home. Jennie-O pre-made patties only clock in at 200 calories! You'd even have room for toppings with one of those tasty bad boys.
- Hummus: Sure, a brand like Athenos is only 50 calories a serving, but a serving is two tablespoons. It's really easy to dip on and on until the entire container is gone, and mind you hummus is a carb! Dunking your pita bread in is dunking a carb into a carb. First step: Try it with a crudité of veggies and stick to the serving size. Or get a pre-packaged single-serving version to help stop the madness.
- Marinara Sauce: This is one of those examples where there are many benefits to the food, but also surprising to see the dangers of it. Jarred marinara sauce actually can have tons of unnatural sugars in it, and this is certainly something people like to pile on. But it's also chock full of veggies and pumped with lycopene. Choose a jarred sauce that's low in sugar or make your own! It's a lot less complicated than you might think. Choose canned crushed (or diced or whole!) tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, some water or stock to thin it out as desired and seasonings. Bellissima!
- Pickles: Just because pickles start their lives out as veggies doesn't make them a fantastic choice. They're packed with sodium and the makers usually add sugar. Instead, go for a Kirby, which is basically a pickle before it's pickled.
- Wasabi Peas: Again, another case of how good things come in small, small servings. Trader Joe's version has 120 calories and 3 grams of fat, plus 240 grams of sodium for just 1/4 cup. These things are fried, not baked!
- Whip Cream: Reddi Whip, even the kind they have the audacity to call "light," can clock in at 600 calories in an entire can. Maybe that seems absurd, who eats an entire can? However, who among us has not ever dared shoot a little extra whip cream directly into our mouths after piling it on top of our dessert?
- Granola: Did you know the average serving of granola is 1/3 of a cup? The average household's breakfast bowls are about two cups and granola is something folks eat at least by the bowlful.
Like anything, moderation is key so these foods are by no means off-limits. By all means, have a handful of wasabi peas or a turkey burger, just find a way to work them in to your day in a healthy way.