Everyone wants to be healthy, young, and strong. But putting in the work to get there, now that’s a different story. We’re constantly bombarded with marketing messages and advertising that pitch you on why you should be using a product. These days the idea of “being healthy” is a major piece to that pitch, and quite frankly, it’s starting to be the anchor of messaging — especially on food. And we’re sure we’re not telling you something you don’t know already. Without straying into the world of marketing and advertising, let’s cut to the chase. There’s plenty of foods out there that are “healthy”. Hell, if it’s not processed, chances are it’s probably got some sort of health-oriented selling point. But some of these foods, while they may be “healthy”, if done in excess, you’re not going to stop weight-gain. These ten foods are some to watch out for.
The Plus: Ten grams of fiber, more than twice the amount of potassium as a banana, more than 20 vitamins and minerals, and a solid serving of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
The Minus: That solid serving of healthy fat is calorie-dense and potentially place you in a calorie surplus, leading to weight gain.
The Deal: Use in moderation. Keep it to half per day, whether on it’s own, on salads or sandwiches.
2. Any Type of Nut
The Plus: Similar to avocado, nuts are loaded with heart-healthy fat.
The Minus: Same as avocado. Too much and you’re looking at a calorie surplus.
The Deal: Stay away from these at the bar. Buy them in single serving packs, while it may cost you more in the long run, it’s easier for portion control.
3. Protein Bars
The Plus: Protein is the building-blocks of muscle. And protein bars are an easy convenient way to fuel and fill up while on-the-go.
The Minus: Typically, along with the protein in the bars comes either sugar or fat. Both can get ya.
The Deal: Go with ready-to-drink (RTD) options vs. the bars. We like Muscle Milk’s Light version. Or if you’re set on getting a bar, go with Quest Nutrition; majority of their carbohydrate makeup is fiber.
4. Granola and Trail Mix
The Plus: Loaded with whole-grain, fiber rich mixes for on-the-go situations.
The Minus: Added ingredients like honey and chocolate can significantly boost sugar and fat content.
The Deal: Buy stripped down versions with as least amount of fruit and added ingredients, and similarly to the nuts; purchase in single serving packs. It’s also a good idea to consume on days you’re more active than others.
5. Dried Fruit
The Plus: Loads of nutrients and antioxidants without needed to eat bulk amounts.
The Minus: Most are also loaded with added sugar for flavor. And, two tablespoons of dried raisins are about the same amount of calories as 1 cup of fresh raspberries.
The Deal: Avoid. Go fresh instead.
The Plus: The compound in cocoa is called polyphenols; research shows it may help keep blood vessels dilated and lower blood pressure.
The Minus: Sugar… and fat.
The Deal: Polyphenols may have their benefits, but it may be easier to up your activity level or cardio. If you need your chocolate fix, go with smaller packages, and brands with the highest percentage of cocoa.
7. Gluten-Free Foods
The Plus: It could be a game-changer for those with legitimate wheat allergies.
The Minus: A lot of gluten-free products have higher calorie counts because of slightly modified ingredients such as cornstarch and brown rice flour.
The Deal: Go with naturally gluten-free foods instead like quinoa.
The Plus: Depending on what you get, you could be scoring loads of antioxidants and even protein.
The Minus: Add peanut butter, chocolate, coconut milk, fruit, and more and you’ve also got loads of calories, sugar, and fat.
The Deal: Get a juicer and/or a blender. Stick with protein, water, ice, or greens like celery, cucumber, apple, kale. This will keep you in control of what you’re consuming.
9. Coffee Drinks
The Plus: Caffeine has its healthy benefits, including liver detoxification properties. And an energy boost at 5-10 calories; not bad.
The Minus: Frappuccinos, cappuccinos, and whatever-inos; these are loaded with creams, milks, and sugar, surging your calorie count.
The Deal: Go black, and if you need some flavor go with non-nutritive sweeteners and sugar-free syrups.
10. Flavored Greek Yogurt
The Plus: Protein for muscle and probiotics for digestive health.
The Minus: Want to go with blueberry Greek yogurt? You just added 16 grams of sugar. Not cool.
The Deal: Stick with the plain stuff, but add your own fresh berries or granola to keep portion control.