We live in a world that is inundated with diet tips, healthy lifestyle fads, new research, and convincing advertising. If you’re not a nutritionist who has studied the effects of food for years, it can be difficult to determine what foods are truly good for your body and which aren’t.
Unfortunately, there are many foods that companies claim are beneficial for you but that are actually detrimental to your weight and health. Here are fifteen of the sneakiest foods you should try to avoid when grocery shopping or eating out.
You might be thinking, “Salads? Of course they’re healthy!” In reality, that’s not always the case. Many salads are drenched in dressings that contain large amounts of preservatives, sugar, salt, and of course, calories. Next time, skip the dressing and go for something safer like balsamic vinegar or a squirt of lemon.
» Looking for a healthy version of your favorite salad dressing? Try our Light Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.
That can of low-fat chicken noodle soup might seem harmless, but chances are, it’s absolutely packed with sodium. All canned foods tend to contain a lot of salt, which can make you feel bloated and gross. Pick something fresher instead.
» Healthy soup anyone? Try our Weight Loss Creamy Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup that clocks in at 124 calories per serving.
Many people see the word “diet” slapped on these drinks and assume they’re better for them, but that’s not the case. Diet sodas are chock full of salt, artificial ingredients, and potentially carcinogenic properties. Stay far away from them; they do more harm than good.
Almost every single energy bar you see on the store shelf is tricking you into thinking it’s a healthy option. Most are actually full of sugar and processed chemicals, even if they look like all-natural options. Be sure to read the back of every bar before purchasing it.
» A healthier option you can make at home? Our Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars perfect for breakfast or on-the-go as a snack!
The words “multigrain” and “wheat” are peppered across dozens of different breads in your local grocery store, but most of them are actually frauds. Unless the loaf package says it was made without refined flour, it’s probably not true whole wheat.
While oatmeal is great for your body, those instant packages you can purchase by the box aren’t so great. Those packets are often full of sugar, sodium, and other ingredients that aren’t found in regular rolled oats. Sweeten your all-natural oats with honey or fruit so that you can avoid falling into the artificial sugar trap.
» For a make-ahead breakfast will start your day off strong, try our Overnight Oats recipe!
Sure, sprinkling a little bit of this stuff on your yogurt isn’t a bad idea, but eating more than a quarter cup per serving is. Most granola bars have more than double that, which means you’re ingesting more calories, carbs, and sugar.
The concept of sushi seems like it would be a great idea. After all, it’s just rice, fresh fish, some veggies, and a little sauce. However, you’d be fooling yourself if you thought a sushi dinner was beneficial for your diet. The fish is often artificial, especially crab, and the soy sauce is brimming with bad-for-you sodium.
If you grab a bag of these bad boys and say to yourself, “At least they aren’t fattening chips,” stop kidding yourself. Pretzels may seem like a healthier snack option, but they’re usually made with very few nutrients and a whole lot of corn syrup and salt.
» One of the most popular recipes on our website make a delicious snack for you and your kids! Make a batch of our Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites.
Sure, yogurt has some beneficial properties, but those are pretty much drowned out when they’re surrounded by high levels of sugar. Go for all-natural or organic yogurts that aren’t super sweet.
Beans aren’t usually a bad choice for your diet, but bake beans that have been sitting in a gooey mixture of sugar, syrup, and molasses are certainly not your friend. Plus, one serving is worryingly high in calories.
» Skip the baked beans and opt for one of our healthier bean side dishes: Crispy Green Bean Fries our our Skinny Country Green Beans.
Nuts, dried fruit, and a few small M&Ms. What could be so bad about that? Well, one package of trail mix is full of salt and extra unhealthy add-ons. You’d be much better off creating your own mixture with clean nuts, organic dried fruit, and some seeds.
Just say no. Period. Artificial sweeteners are incredibly unhealthy, and many studies have revealed they may increase your risk of cancer. Either give into temptation and eat the normal version of your favorite candy or don’t eat it at all.
If you’re that person that grabs a canned or bottled green tea and claims they’re healthier than soda drinkers, think again: most teas that are sold in bottles have lost their antioxidant benefits and are almost as high in sugar as many sodas.
» Want a better way to do green tea? Try our Green Tea Smoothie—it’s light, mild, refreshing and perfect for a warm summer day.