Most of us understand that the majority of the food on the shelves isn’t all that great for us. We have a decent sense of the packaged, processed options we want to avoid – in addition to the obviously unhealthy things like sweets and junk food.
…But what about the things that seem healthy? Either because of how they’re labeled, or because of our misconceptions, there are plenty of foods out there that appear to be good for you – but just aren’t. If you truly want to harness your inner Golden Goddess, you’ve got to harness the power to make informed decisions about what you eat!
To help you avoid these things, and stay on track with your healthy lifestyle (physical and mental), let’s look at 10 culprits. Don’t let these foods trick you into thinking you’re eating healthy!
1. Protein Bars
Most store-bought protein bars aren’t much better for you than regular candy bars! Sure, they’ve got protein – but they also contain artificial color and flavor, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and so on. HFCS contributes to weight gain, heart disease, and a variety of other health problems.
Instead, trying making your own protein balls! If you want something store-bought, choose Larabar.
2. Sweetened Soy and Nut Milk
Like many other “sweetened” options, the health benefits are almost nullified by the amount of sugar added! Many of these store-bought milks also contain Carrageenan, an additive used for thickening that has been associated with stomach ulcers and glucose intolerance.
As an alternative, buy unsweetened varieties – and if you can, just make your own!
3. Spreads and Dips
Just because a dip contains vegetables or other healthy ingredients, that doesn’t make the whole thing healthy! Most of them are packed with cream cheese, artificial flavors, saturated fats, sweeteners, etc. – all of which contribute to health problems and weight gain.
Instead of creamy dips and cheese spreads, opt for hummus, cashew cheese, or dips mostly made from beans.
4. Deli Meat
Unfortunately, even the leaner, healthier meats like chicken and turkey can’t be trusted in their packaged, off the shelf form… Most of them contain sodium nitrates, saturated fat, preservatives, and extra filler – all of which contributes to poor gut health and other issues.
As an alternative, look to chicken and turkey that is free-range and preservative free. Purchase from trusted local sources to avoid all the unhealthy additives.
5. Vegetable and Fruit Juices
So many people chug down these seemingly healthy beverages without realizing how packed with sugar they truly are! Fruit and vegetable juices, especially “juice cocktails” can have upwards of 8 teaspoons of sugar per serving – that’s a ton!
If you need a delicious drink, try a Nourishing Lab Golden Goddess smoothie. Drinking more water is always a good idea too!
6. Gluten Free Snacks
Simply put, gluten free doesn’t automatically mean healthy. Many of these snacks are simply empty calories, loaded with sugar and additives. It’s important to examine the other ingredients and know how to read labels with scrutiny… Don’t just assume “gluten free” is going to contain anything healthy.
As an alternative, try making my gluten free protein balls!
7. Low Fat Salad Dressing
Just like “gluten free,” the words “low fat” do NOT mean that something is healthy. When the fat is removed, there’s almost always something added to make up for flavor – and it’s usually HFCS, sugar, salt, and a variety of other additives.
For some alternatives, here are some of my favorite salad dressings:
8. Frozen Yogurt
You may be seeing a theme here… “Yogurt” is a word we often associate with healthy gut and good bacteria, but many frozen yogurts have just as much sugar as ice cream! It’s as simple as that – just because it’s yogurt, it doesn’t mean that all that sugar isn’t terrible for you. When it’s covered in sprinkles, crumbled cookies, or candy, it’s even worse.
Instead, try homemade coconut yogurt (or a store-bought option, but check the nutritional info!).
9. Trail Mix
We’re talking about the vast majority of the stuff they sell in the store, where there’s as much candy, chocolate, dried fruit made with polyunsaturated oils, etc. as there are healthy nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and the rest of the GOOD things trail mix is supposed to be made of!
Instead of pre-packaged, sugar-laden trail mix, make your own! You can get a ton of fiber, protein, and healthy fat with Brazil nuts, dates, dark chocolate, seeds, goji berries, and other healthy ingredients. Season with herbs and spices to taste, and create your own healthy trail mix for snacks on the go!
10. Veggie Burgers
Personally, I’ve never found store-bought veggie burgers to taste good – but that’s beside the point! The real issue here is that most are highly processed, made with soy, packed with preservatives and other additives, and are not really providing any nutrition at all.
For a nutrient dense alternative, try this homemade veggie burger:
We have to be careful about letting buzz words and misleading names trick us into thinking foods are healthy. Be diligent about reading labels when you’re in the store, know what to watch out for, and make the healthiest choices you can.
Even more importantly, if you can make something yourself – do it! In most cases, a homemade alternative with real ingredients is going to be healthier than a pre-packaged alternative. Trusting yourself to make good food choices is an integral piece of manifesting your inner Golden Goddess…
Watch out for these not-so-healthy foods, and you’ll be on the right track!
Do you have any other healthy swaps for these unhealthy foods? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts.
Sending love and light!