Maintaining a healthy diet shouldn’t need to be difficult. But with food companies (and their marketers) jumping on the ‘health’ bandwagon of late, determining which healthy foods are actually good for you and which are simply marketed to look that way, can get a little tricky.
When it comes to our health we need to know what healthy actually means. Many meals classified as fast food can actually be made extremely healthy at home. Whilst others (see below) that are classified as healthy foods, can be far from it. These foods, once you look beyond the healthy surface, are laden with fat, sugar, salt and preservatives to help it taste, look and last longer.
Let’s delve into a few currently buzzing healthy foods to see what may be lurking:
1) Trail mix
Fabulous for a portioned snack and to take on a hike. Energy to last and full of wholesome flavours. BUT be wary. Many supermarket-bought trail mixes are laden with added sugar (from candied preserved fruit, yoghurt drops or chocolate chips). They are also often super high in sodium (from nuts and flavourings) and can leave you gasping for air if you are sensitive to sulphite preservatives.
Instead try: Making your own mix by combining unsalted nuts (any variety) with unpreserved no added sugar dried fruit. Or you could dry your own in a slow oven (apple and banana work great!). Roasted fava beans and chickpeas or classic jerky also make for a fabulously tasty nutrient-rich mix.
Often replacing meals OR had as an addition to a meal, smoothies have long been deemed a health chaser’s dream. However you must choose wisely as many smoothies bought at cafes and eateries are laden with fat and sugar from Ice-cream, frozen yoghurt and fruit flavourings.
12WBT Super Green Smoothie
- 1 Serve
- 10 min prep time
- 302 Cal / serve
- 60g Avocado, flesh scooped
- 120g Pineapple, chopped and frozen
- 1/2 Banana (50g), chopped and frozen
- 40g Baby Spinach
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Chia Seeds (7g)
- 1 Tablespoons Mint Leaves (3g), chopped
- 3/4 Cups Coconut Water (187g)
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and serve.
3 ) Salads
It’s not the salad vegetables itself we’ve got an issue with, but more often the dressings and toppers we add. Vegetables are incredibly healthy, however many of us wouldn’t just eat them just on their own. Unfortunately, many dressings are loaded with sugar, flavourings, preservatives, salt and trans fats AND toppers like croutons, bacon, fried onions etc can also be laden with fat and flavourings.
If you’re looking for a healthy, quick lunch recipe that packs a flavour punch, try these protein-packed recipes: 3 Healthy Chicken Recipes Ideas
4 ) Protein bars
With literally hundreds of protein bar options on the market, you need to keep vigilant about what you are buying. With ingredient panels that read like phone books, many commercially available protein bars are simply heavily processed (and expensive) versions of a chocolate bar. The added ‘fibre’ and no added sugar versions can also leave many of those with sensitive tummies running to the bathroom.
5) Granola and yoghurt café cups
It’s often love at first sight. You see it through the café counter glass, that beautifully crafted layering of shiny silky yoghurt and golden crunchy granola… BUT…be wary! Often the reason you can’t quite re-create this ‘healthy’ breakfast at home is because the yoghurt is usually the full fat Greek yoghurt (which is upwards of 10% fat) mixed with added sugars and flavours. The granola, too, is often of the sugar and oil baked variety.
Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
- Serves 4
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 120 min
- 309 cal per serve
- 1 Cup Rolled Oats (90g)
- 1 Large Carrot (70g), peeled and grated
- ¼ Cup Honey (80g)
- 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds (12g)
- 1 Cup Low Fat Milk (250g)
- ¼ Cup Desiccated Coconut (25g)
- 1 Cup Low Fat Yoghurt (250g)
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (3g)
- 2 Pinch Ground Nutmeg (2g)
- 2 Tablespoons Walnuts (18g)
- Place the oats, carrot, chia, milk, yoghurt, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl. Fold together gently to combine.
- Divide mixture between serving bowls (or jars if you want to take it with you).Top with walnuts and coconut and cover. Set in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy in the morning!