Hey Moms, you want to help your family find the best foods. Food producers know that, and while some have responded by developing fast, family-friendly food that’s genuinely healthy, others have gone over to the dark side. Don’t get fooled by these four healthy-sounding foods that aren’t! Leah Segedie, the healthy mom blogger from Mamavation has been killing it on her Instagram account with her Bite Me Series. I’ve learned so much from her and we are slowly cutting out some of the biggest offenders.
When you see the word “veggie” you immediately think “healthy.” The makers of these chips and straws love to use strategic photos featuring chips in a variety of healthy colors that make you think you’re eating the rainbow. But don’t be fooled. These things are just chips.
The first three ingredients in veggie straws are empty starches from potato and corn. And compared to plain tortilla chips, they have more sodium, less fiber, and less protein. With the tortilla chips, at least you get 4% DV of iron and 6% DV of calcium. You get nothing with the veggie straws.
Oh granola: we love you. You call to us with a siren song of health, and we respond by gobbling you down by the handful. And then just one more handful. After all, it’s healthy!
Some granola is full of sugar (the average amount in a cup is close to 30 grams), and even the ones that are lower in sugar are still packed with calories. A serving of granola can easily have as many calories as a Big Mac, and that’s before you add the milk.
Another issue with this supposed health food is the macronutrient ratio. You get a little protein and a bit more healthy fat, but what you’re mainly getting in granola is a huge load of carbohydrates. That’s a mid-morning crash waiting to happen. Some eggs will get you a much better ratio with far less sugar, and if your kids need a break from eggs, homemade granola is another solid choice since you are in control of the ingredients (and the sugar)
Yogurt is healthy, right? Fruit is healthy, right? What could possibly be bad about this? But beware; some fruit yogurt is junk food masquerading as a healthy breakfast.
For one thing, the “fruit” is mostly just jam, which means it’s actually mostly just sugar. For another, nearly all these yogurts are low fat or fat free. Kids need healthy fat, like that found in dairy, for brain development. Even more importantly, fat cushions the blow of all that sugar to the bloodstream.
When you take away fat and add sugar, you have a recipe for disaster. The sugar goes straight to work on the system without anything to slow its absorption, meaning you can look for a blood-sugar crash and demands for mid-morning snacks coming your way very soon.
Speaking of snacks, this one says “fruit,” so it must be healthy, right? The way these things are billed, you’d think they’re nothing but healthy fruit.
Unfortunately, the primary ingredient in these snacks is just sugar. Don’t forget, corn is “natural,” so even if the first ingredient is corn syrup, the manufacturer can claim “natural sweeteners.” Many of these also contain artificial flavors and colors.
Know Better Do Better
There’s a lot of junk food out there pretending to be healthy. Don’t fall for the scams. Stay safe by reading labels, comparing brands, and looking for recipes to make your own healthy snacks from scratch.
I don’t want to leave you without some great alternatives. Fruit is the original fast food. It’s apple season, grab a huge bag of apples. Eat half fresh, then slice the rest thinly, brush on a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle with cinnamon. Then bake them for an hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Bam healthy happy chips and your entire house will smell so good.