“Healthy” Foods That Aren’t
Time to kick the food-court smoothie habit!
Commercial smoothies that emphasize “healthy” and “natural” ingredients can actually be as high-calorie as a fast-food combo, according to dietitian Joy Bauer.
Bauer said the calorie count in these smoothies shoots up because of ingredients like sugar-laden “fruit juice”, whole-milk ice cream or yogurt, and even occasionally chocolate syrup. “Some large smoothies have close to 1,000 calories—that’s more calories than a fast-food meal!” Bauer wrote on Yahoo! Another frightening fact: a high-calorie smoothie can have about 25 teaspoons of sugar. As an alternative, Bauer suggests her “universal recipe” for a homemade smoothie: ½ cup skim milk, ½ to ¾ cup fresh or frozen fruit, ½ cup nonfat yogurt, plus a few ice cubes.
Other bad “health” foods on Bauer’s list:
*Energy bars. They’re often high in saturated fat or sugar. Instead, try an apple with peanut butter or a few rice cakes with low-fat string cheese. If you’ve got to have an energy bar, Bauer says, go for one that has fewer than 200 calories and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat.
*Bran, corn and blueberry muffins. Most commercially made baked goods are packed with oil, butter, sugar—and an amazing calorie count (around 500 calories in most cases). “It’s basically a giant cupcake without frosting,” Bauer says.
*Pretzels. These are widely perceived to be a relatively healthy snack. But Bauer says that the typical ingredients – white flour, yeast, salt and maybe vegetable oil or corn syrup – have no nutritional value whatsoever. A better alternative, if you can find it: whole-wheat pretzels. Otherwise, try some air-popped popcorn.