Sticking to a healthy diet is hard enough as it is, but it is only made harder by the fact that a lot of the supposedly healthy foods you’re probably eating aren’t actually that good for you. Made popular by health food trends, endorsed by healthy foodies, and bought by us, the foods on this list may not be the most unhealthy thing at the grocery store, but they certainly aren’t the best.
Some of these items may shock you, and while it definitely isn’t necessary to cut them out of your diet entirely, you may want to rethink just how much you need these non-healthy “health” foods.
At its core, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with granola. Rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts all rolled together into one deliciously crunchy package. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t come from those ingredients but from the amounts of added sugar, calories, and processed chemicals added to store-bought brands.
To combat this, try making your own granola bars at home. If you still insist on getting store-bought, make sure that you’re choosing granola that is low in sugar, high in fiber, and contains as few additional ingredients as possible.
Finding this out definitely broke my heart. There’s nothing quite like a delicious smoothie to get the day started, but unfortunately, they’re not as good for you as you think. If you pack your smoothies full of fruit and dairy, you’re consuming tons of fat and sugar at the same time. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the fact that smoothies don’t really succeed in acting as a meal on their own can make them a pretty bad option.
This doesn’t mean you have to give them up altogether, though. Try filling your smoothies will more veggies and less dairy and eating them alongside a nutritious meal.
3. Wheat Bread
The unhealthiness of “wheat bread,” has a lot more to do with the marketing of the product than it does to do with your choices. You may think you’re picking up healthy, fiber-filled wheat bread only to be tricked into eating something that, in reality, is multi-grain. If the package on your bread doesn’t explicitly read “100% wheat bread”, it probably isn’t. Finding actual wheat bread may be a little more expensive and a bit more work, but it’s well worth it!
4. Frozen Veggie Burgers
Frozen food can be a lifesaver! When I’m buying frozen food, I’m not always basing my purchases on how healthy the item is, so much as gauging its deliciousness and how much time it’s going to save me from cooking. Frozen veggie burgers, on the other hand, are specifically marketed as being a healthy alternative to meat, unfortunately, that’s not true at all. The frozen patties are often filled with oils and butter and made up of more fillers than vegetables.
If you have a hankering for a nice veggie burger but want to avoid all the bad stuff, make a few at home!
5. Trail Mix
Even with the addition of colorful little candies, trail mix has been maintained as a healthy snack for a very long time. And this isn’t unnecessarily untrue, considering the fact that healthy trail mix is great to nibble on whether you’re out hiking or sitting behind a desk. Still, more of the trail mix available for purchase in stores can be just as unhealthy as a bag of chips. Branded trail mix is full of added salts and sugars that rack up the calories and do little else.
6. Instant Oatmeal
Instant oatmeal has long been a breakfast classic. It’s ridiculously easy to make, super simple to customize, and a delicious, healthy food option. Unfortunately, one of those perks isn’t actually true. Those little flavored packets of instant oatmeal contains large amounts of sugar and sodium that are really bad for you. The next time you’re in the mood for some oats, stick to good old-fashioned steel-cut or rolled.
7. Bottled Green tea
Green tea, or any tea really, is a great choice when you brew it yourself. The bottled options at the supermarket, on the other hand, not so much. All of the promises of antioxidants get thrown out the window by all of the unnecessary added sugar and artificial flavors. You can brew your own chilled green tea at home. Not only will it taste better, but it’s better for you too!