If there’s one thing the food industry is good at, it is coy packaging and hiding unhealthy ingredients, however, quite a few “healthy” foods can be deceiving, too.
Packaged milk and yoghurt drinks
Yoghurt and yoghurt-type milk drinks may contain calcium and live beneficial bacteria but some go into sugar overdrive. A 300ml yoghurt milk drink may contain almost 1 000 kilojoules. The same goes for packaged milk drinks.
Healthy hints: Opt for smaller portions of yoghurt, such as 100g. Be careful when consuming yoghurt out of large tubs, which tends to make it easier to serve up a larger portion. Also, plain yoghurt is lower in sugar than flavoured yoghurts.
Store-bought vegetable juices
One glass can equal two full servings of vegetables – nothing wrong with that, right? Many of these juices are heavy on starchy vegetables such as beetroot. Also, often fruit concentrates, sugar and salt, are added for flavour.
Healthy hints: Make your own juice using a blender to keep as much fibre intact as possible. Use a variety of vegetables.
Vegetarian meals and meat substitutes, depending on which product you buy, can be a healthy alternative. Unfortunately, many of these products have a high fat content, with fat contributing to more than 40 percent of the total energy content. Many vegetarian products, like the sausages, patties and nuggets, are also processed and contain high amounts of sodium. Rather opt for other protein substitutes such as ½ cup of legumes, eggs or fat-free cottage cheese. These each provide, on average, the same amount of protein as 30g meat without the saturated fat or high sodium content.
Gluten-free snacks and treats
Many people do not realise that gluten-free treats are still treats – it is not “health foods”. Gluten-free crackers, cookies and muffins are not necessarily ‘good’ for you. These kind of gluten-free goods are usually made from refined potato or rice flours that are not enriched and often have added fat, sugar and artificial flavourings. Thus, check the ingredients before buying, just like you do with any snack food.
Healthy hints: Opt for gluten-free grains that also contain fibre, phytonutrients and B vitamins (like wholegrain oats, quinoa and brown rice). Better yet, think of the snack as an opportunity to increase your plant base by choosing a dish of hummus and pea pods or other naturally gluten-free veg and legumes.
Flavoured waters, iced teas and bottled green tea
Yes, they contain fewer kilojoules than soft drinks, but they’re definitely not the same as plain water. These seemingly innocent beverages can also have chemical additives, sugars and corn syrup. Often the amount of goodfor- you polyphenols is not significant enough to justify the the sugar content. The polyphenols in green tea are easily broken down when exposed to heat, light and stored over a long period of time.
Healthy hints: Plain water is ALWAYS first choice, however, why not make your own green tea?
Green Tea Recipe:
● Boil a pot of your favourite green tea. Add lemon or orange slices to further preserve the cancerfighting
polyphenols. Adding citrus to your tea boosts flavour and frees up more antioxidant compounds for the body to absorb after digestion. Add Slender Wonder Stevia to taste and cool for a refreshing treat.
Most health bars are as concentrated as chocolate. Both contain too much sugar and fat. Most health bars are, in fact, equal to two snacks and often contain an imbalance of nutrients. Protein bars are in general too big and therefore less suitable as a snack.
Healthy hints: The ideal portion size would be half a bar, weighing not more than 30 - 40g, such as the Slender Wonder Protein Bar.
These seemingly healthy carbohydrates are often coloured with beetroot or spinach juice, made primarily of wheat or rice flour and have virtually no vegetable content. Though some vegetable chips claim that one serving equals a serving of vegetables, the fried varieties add, on average, 9g fat and 552 more kJ than a serving of most fresh vegetables
Healthy hints: If you’re craving crunch, snack on raw crudités. You can also make your own veggie chips or sticks by spraying thin slices of fresh veg with non-stick cooking spray and grilling it at 200˚C for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dried fruit is fresh fruit concentrated fivefold because most of the water in the fresh fruit is lost during the drying process.
For example, as few as nine strips of dried mango are equivalent to one large fresh mango.
Healthy hints: Fresh fruit is the best choice because it’s more satisfying and nutritious. Small quantities of dried fruit should only be eaten when fresh fruit is not available or practical.
Store-bought smoothies are highly concentrated with too many fruits, added fruit juice, honey, sugar or flavoured syrups. Although a large smoothie will provide vitamins and adequate kilojoules, it’s not a balanced meal because it’s so concentrated in carbohydrate. Some smoothies are made using powder concentrates, and do not actually contain any fruit. This means they contain mostly just sugar and flavouring.
Healthy hints: Use your Slender Wonder Protein Shake with an added fruit as a balanced meal replacement shake. This will help to prevent a drop in blood sugar two to three hours later due to the protein in the shake.