Watch out for these health food fakers

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Most of us do our best to make sure we exercise, get plenty of sleep and eat right. After all, those are the three basic building blocks of healthy living. But unfortunately, what many of us think is really a healthy choice, isn’t.

Today I’ll focus on the eating portion of the healthy living triangle. Let’s call it health food fakers: foods that you think are good for you that really aren’t. A big part of the problem is the way things are marketed to the public. When food is pitched as light, low-calorie, fit or healthy, the perception is that it is a healthy option. That is not always the case. As I was looking for some food fakers, a registered dietitian friend of mine came through and shared a couple examples along with some other options that are truly healthier.

Here’s one that may blow your mind: yogurt. Yogurt is actually not very healthy – at least when it is flavored with fruit. A typical cup of fruit flavored yogurt is loaded with sugar. In fact, one cup of yogurt has more than 10 grams of sugar; roughly the same as a donut. That’s hardly the healthy morning breakfast you were looking for when you opened the refrigerator.

A better option is to use plain yogurt and add your own fruit. You’ll still have some natural sugar from the fruit and dairy, but the nutrients you’ll receive make this a great choice.

People usually think that when they eat dried fruit, they’re eating healthy; but in all actuality, dried fruit concentrates the sugar and raises the caloric output. One cup of dried fruit clocks in about 400 calories, which is about five times more than regular fruit. The wise alternative is to just eat the fruit as it is.

I bet you didn’t know that one tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories. The thought of olive oil to most people is one of natural health, but that’s a lot of wasted weight gaining calories. I also know that when people cook, they don’t always measure out ingredients. So one tablespoon often becomes two or three. Can you imagine unnecessarily adding 300-400 calories before you even add food? Try using a cooking spray instead and you’ll save hundreds of calories because one serving of cooking spray falls in the five-to-10 calorie range.

For this week’s fit recipe, try this great spinach and mushroom Florentine sandwich that I’ve been making for years. Start by pre-cooking one pound of frozen, cut-leaf spinach (thawed and drained) and add already sautéed mushrooms and onions (while sautéing, go easy on the butter). Mix in a cup of low-fat mayonnaise, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper. Take a slice of toasted pumpernickel bread, spread a layer of Dijon mustard and add the spinach mixture. Top with a fresh slice of vine-ripened tomato and two slices of Swiss cheese. Broil until the cheese is golden brown and serve open-faced.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, RECIPES OR INFORMATION YOU’D LIKE TO PASS ON, CONTACT ME AT BRIAN@BRIANDUEWEL.COM OR ON TWITTER @BDUEWEL AND BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY BLOG AT HEALTHYLIVINGWITHBRIANDUEWEL.COM.


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