From 17 Expert: Robyn Youkilis, Health Coach and Healthy CookingExpert. Find out more about her here!
Those giant smoothies from chain stores usually pack tons of sugar. If you can’t make your own healthy version at home, choose wisely: Make to avoid choices containing ice cream or sherbet, order the small size, and see if they can throw in some dark leafy greens, like kale or spinach, for extra nutrition value — you won’t even taste it!
Sure, granola bars seem healthy, but they’re not all created equal. Some bars have more sugar than a candy bar! (Hence, um, why they taste like candy.) Be sure to check the label and look for bars with less than five grams of sugar and no high fructose corn syrup.
On its own frozen yogurt is a fairly healthy treat, but adding a few sugary toppings changes that fast! Skip the cookie dough, brownie bites, and chocolate chips; and instead, load your fro-yo with fruit, nuts, or dried coconut. For a healthy DIY version, freeze a container of plain Greek yogurt!
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread is a better option than white bread, but some types of whole wheat loaves are stripped of all their nutrients, because they’re made with refined wheat (meaning it’s more processed) and hydrogenated oil and sugars (yuck!). Look for breads that contain actual whole grain — you’ll know it does when the label doesn’t mention the words refined, bleached, or fortified.
While veggie pizza usually is the healthiest pizza option, some restaurants add tons of extra cheese to make up for the lack of toppings, and the vegetables, like roasted red peppers and olives, can be cooked in tons of oil. Choose wisely and go for thin-crust pizza with raw veggies on top.
Unsalted nuts and dried fruit are good snack options, but when you add in chocolate and sugar from coated fruit, trail mixes can get sneaky unhealthy. Plus, lots of brands use a lot of sodium, on top of salted nuts! Grab just a handful or nosh on plain unsalted nuts instead.
Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
While peanut butter has heart-healthy good fats, eating too much can be bad for you, which is why many turn to reduced fat or “diet” peanut butter. Don’t! Lowfat options actually contain more sugar and hydrogentated (bad) oil. Go for the original version and enjoy in moderation.
Energy drinks promise to keep you awake and focused with added caffeine, vitamins, and minerals, but watch out! These drinks are definitely not good for you. Not only do they contain tons of sugar, some of the additives, designed to deliver that promised “boost,” aren’t even approved by the FDA! Stick with water to rehydrate the healthy way.
Just because it’s a salad, doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Loaded with cheese, bacon and topped with creamy dressing, cobb salads are as yummy as they are unhealthy. Lighten the load and ask for some extra veggies like tomatoes and carrots, chose either the bacon or the cheese, and get a smaller portion of the dressing — or swap it for lemon, vinegar, and freshly ground pepper. Still delicious, we promise!
Sweet Potato Fries
Think just because sweet potatoes are a veggie, you’re good to consume as much as you want? Think again! True, sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins B6, C, and D, but when they’re turned into fries, they lose most of their healthy benefits. Sweet potato fries may be a slightly better option than traditional fries, but no matter how you slice it, a fry is still a fry. Enjoy in moderation!