There are a lot of clever marketing teams out there – especially in food marketing. Because of this, it’s harder than ever to know what’s actually good for us.
Here’s a few examples of some “healthy” foods that you may have been consuming without seeing the full nutritional picture. This isn’t a list of foods you shouldn’t eat – we just want you to be aware of what’s in the foods you eat so you can make the best choices for you.
Juices and smoothies
Sorry to all our juice lovers! Juice strips away all the fibre in the fruit, leaving you with little more than sugar. Of course fresh juice has vitamins and minerals as well, however you can’t beat a piece of fresh fruit if you’re looking for the healthiest option.
If you really love your juice – drink it! Just think of it as a treat instead, and have a smaller glass or drink it only every so often.
Smoothies similarly can have a huge amount of sugar in them due to the multiple servings of fruit they contain. They have the added bonus of retaining all the fruit’s fibre, but if they are made with just fruit, juice and ice, they can provide a lot of calories without actually filling you up.
It’s not all bad news! Smoothies can be an extremely nutritious on-the-go breakfast or snack option – you just need to know how to build a balanced smoothie that’s filled with protein, fibre and healthy fats.
Here’s some tips on achieving this:
– Try to limit fruit servings to one and replace extra servings with veggies like spinach, kale, frozen zucchini or cauliflower
– Add a protein powder to make it more filling
– Add rolled oats for fibre
– Spoon in some chia seeds or peanut butter to incorporate some healthy fats
I’m ruining everyone’s day, I know. Again, like with our juices and smoothies – sushi can be a nutritious takeaway option if you make some small tweaks.
– Limit your deep fried choices like tempura or karage chicken
– Opt for fresh fish – e.g raw salmon/tuna and avocado rolls
– Swap white rice for brown or black rice rolls where you can for added nutrients and fibre
– Think about your condiments, as this is where a lot of calories, sugar and salt sneak in. Limit spicy mayonnaises and sweet soy sauces and opt for pickled ginger and small amounts of traditional soy sauce instead
– Grab nutritious sides like edamame beans and seaweed salad to bulk out your meal
What’s healthier than a salad, right? It depends on what’s in it!
Think about a Caesar salad for a moment – depending on your version, most contain lettuce, egg, bacon and croutons topped with a creamy dressing. It offers very little in terms of nutrition.
A lot of the pre-made salads you’ll see in food outlets offer a similar nutrition profile, or perhaps they do deliver in terms of nutrients but have lots of high-calorie add ons like cheese, oils and dressings that drive the energy content too high.
Forget the fancy pre-made salads and go back to basics with a salad that ticks all the boxes.
Wholegrain carbs – like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato
Lean protein – tuna, chicken, chickpeas, tofu, egg
Leafy greens – spinach, rocket or mixed salad leaves
A small quantity of healthy fat – avocado, olive oil, toasted nuts or seeds
Gluten free foods
Gluten free foods were originally developed for those among us who have an allergy or intolerance to gluten. They are not naturally a healthier option just because they do not contain gluten, especially if they are ultra processed.
Firstly, get properly diagnosed if you suspect you may be intolerant or allergic to gluten.
Secondly, there is no reason to avoid gluten unless you have a medical condition, so don’t limit your dietary choices because of a dietary trend. Lots of gluten containing foods are super nutritious!
Lastly, if you would like to stick with a gluten free diet for whatever reason, stick with naturally gluten free foods.
Instead of smashing a heap of processed, packaged gluten free products, incorporate wholefoods like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and of course all fruits, vegetables and un-marinated meats.