Many of us will start the New Year with a resolution to lose weight and eat healthier. Don’t start off on the wrong foot! There are so many misconceptions and marketing gimmicks about which foods are good for you and which ones to avoid.
Below I’ve provided an easy breakdown of several foods you think are healthy (but aren’t!), as well as a better alternative.
Cereals: Grains, in general, are high on the glycemic index – meaning they turn into sugar quickly in the body. Even grains that are organic, made with whole grains, and are high in fiber are not automatically good for you. And, by the way, organic sugar is still sugar – and many high fiber cereals can be over-processed, refined grains.
Better alternative: Look for cereals that have less than 6 grams of sugar per serving and a short ingredients lists. Go for whole grains, freeze-dried fruits, unprocessed nuts, and no artificial sweeteners.
Granola Bars: Many bars are loaded with added sugars, refined oils, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives.
Better alternative: Consider trying some paleo granolas that are grain-free and contain optimal amounts of fiber and a low sugar content.
Frozen Veggie Burgers: Many commercial veggie patties are made from highly processed soy or “textured vegetable protein”, which is derived from soy and/or wheat – not veggies. In fact, it’s difficult in many conventional supermarkets to find a “veggie” burger that actually contains vegetables.
Better alternative: Choose veggie burgers that aren’t made from soy, but derive their protein from whole, unprocessed foods like beans and seeds. Even better would be veggie burgers that contain real vegetables.
Rice Cakes: Although rice cakes are low in calories, they’re also low on nutrition. Most provide a single gram each of protein and fiber without almost any other micro-nutrients. Flavored versions can be loaded with artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors.
Better alternative: If you’re craving something crunchy, try some dehydrated kale or zucchini chips.
Dried Fruit: Many times dried fruits contain lots of sugar and sulfites as a preservative to extend the shelf life, which we know are carcinogenic. Avoid!!
Gluten-Free Snacks: It’s time, once and for all, to clear up the misconception that gluten-free foods are inherently healthier than wheat-based ones (unless you have celiac disease, of course). Most alternative flours used to make gluten-free crackers, pretzels, baked goods, and other snacks have just as many carbs—or more—than wheat does, while offering little more in the way of nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Better alternative: Unless you have celiac disease, stick to products made with 100% whole-wheat flour or other nutritious flours like almond, quinoa, coconut, or chickpea flour. An extra added bonus is that nut flours are lower in carbs, too!
Written by: Judy Nicassio, Lead Nutritionist at Rejuvena Health & Aesthetics
Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics helps patients look and feel their best using a revolutionary, integrative approach that includes all aspects of both naturopathic and aesthetic medicine. Rejuvena believes that total body wellness encompasses both the inside and the outside, and that your appearance is a direct reflection of what’s going on beneath the surface. Rejuvena offers the latest regenerative medicine techniques to resolve pain, enhance tissue and wrinkle repair, customized diet plans, organic whole food based supplements and detoxification therapies. To learn more, visit werejuvenate.com or 480-551-9000.