Eating can be so CONFUSING sometimes…
“If you want to lose weight, stay away from carbs.”
“No, you should definitely eat carbs. But just the goods ones.”
“Fats and sugars are terrible for your health.”
“There is this new diet that helps you lose weight, and all you do is eat high fat foods.”
Etc etc etc.
What to believe?!
Statements like this are why I just stick to simple, whole, natural foods. They can’t be THAT bad for you, if they were grown from the earth, right? (Though i’m sure someone would find something bad to say about them).
Instead of telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat, I thought i’d put together a quick list of food items that many people generally consider to be ‘healthy,’ but don’t realize it could be setting you back quite a bit.
It is also no coincidence that everything I discuss below are actually things I considered to be ‘healthy choices’ in University, and am now putting them in this blog post. And if you compared my physique then to now, you would agree that I am way leaner now than when I was putting in 20 hours of rugby training every week.
Diet is literally everything, when it comes to achieving a particular physique. You could go to HIIT classes and work your ass off 5 days a week, but still look relatively the same if you don’t change what you’re eating. I’m telling you. It makes a difference.
As someone who puts together meal plans for clients, I go through what a typical day of eating will look like for them. Many of them will say “Oh, I eat pretty healthy” but then list the exact same things that all my other clients have been eating. And all of them can’t seem to lose the weight that they want.
So perhaps it has to do something with these ‘healthy’ meals they are eating, that don’t seem to be that good for you, once you take a closer look.
Greek Yogurt & Granola:
This definitely sounds like a healthy option to me. Greek yogurt has lots of protein! And granola is granolaaaaa. Its obvi healthy.
But wait. Have you looked at how much sugar is in that yogurt you’re eating? Or how about that granola? If you’re eat anything but plain yogurt, you could be eating 19 grams of sugar or MORE, per serving. And that’s in the yogurt alone.
Even the advertised ‘healthier’ versions of granola are not what they seem. Natures Path (which I actually LOVE) has 10+ grams of sugar per serving!
So think about that – in your breakfast ALONE, you could be consuming almost 30 grams of sugar (and i’m talking processed, unhealthy sugar, not the natural sugars found in fruit). That is a lot of sweetness to be starting your day with, and one that may have you crashing later.
Instead of going for the sweetened yogurt, grab the plain stuff. And rather than sweetening it with granola, I like to add defrosted frozen raspberries or blueberries instead, and get all their juices mixed in. As for the toppings? Throw 2 tbsp sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, and unsweetened coconut flakes, and you’ve got yourself a delicious and filling breakfast.
Now, before you freak out, I am NOT BASHING NUTS. I could never. Nuts are the best.
BUT, it’s good to be cognizant on how much fat content they have in them. I know how easy it is to get lost in a handful of nuts. Or a bag-ful. Whatever.
Macadamia nuts actually have the highest fat content (22 grams/1 oz), followed by pecans, pine nuts and brazil nuts. Approximately how many nuts you eat ranges between each variety, but you can find a full list here.
I’m not saying you need to find an alternative for nuts, but be aware that this healthy snack that you’re eating has its downfalls as well. Limit yourself to only a handful each time, or 1/4 cup.
For a sad, misguided time in my life, I actually thought some energy/granola bars were a healthy option. I literally swore by Clif bars for any on-the-go snack.
However, I won’t be too hard on myself – it’s not like I was coming to this decision all by myself.
Whenever I went to a sporting event (whether it was a race, or a sponsored event hosted by Adidas), Clif bars were everywhere. It wasn’t impossible to believe that they could be healthy, especially if these huge sports brands were handing them out.
It wasn’t until one day that someone said they wouldn’t eat those things because they were basically “a chocolate bar with some protein” that I actually looked at what the nutritional information said.
I was so disappointed again!! 21 grams of sugar (or more) in a single bar, with Organic Brown Rice Syrup as the first ingredient. YIKES.
Alternative: I believe that we should cut out packaged foods as much as possible, and try eating an apple or a tangerine as a snack instead. However, if you don’t always have that option, look for bars like Lara Bars, which use only MINIMAL ingredients. Most of their bars are sweetened by dates, meaning no added sugars. However, it doesn’t mean you can eat them in unlimited quantities – they are just a better option than some other bars out there. Always check the ingredients and nutritional information on the back.
I don’t know how or when it happened, but slowly we started moving away from breads, and to it’s ‘healthier’ alternative, the wrap.
Don’t get me wrong, I was caught up in it too – I used to eat wraps every single day for lunch when I was in university. Like. Every day. I always thought I was being so healthy since I filled it with tons of veggies and a only a small amount of cheese (jk, there was like, a LOT of cheese in there).
A single tortilla can have up to 30 grams of carbs in it, and have a TON of difficult to pronounce ingredients. Unless the ingredients in your wraps are made from whole wheat, a lot of the time these wraps are made from refined flours and trans fats. Finally, there is a bunch of sodium in these wraps- 300 mg and counting
I’m not saying you need to cut them out altogether – just don’t perceive them to be the healthy, guilt-free option you hoped they were.
Alternative: One of my favorite alternatives is to use iceberg lettuce leaves to wrap my food in. I’ve done it with fajitas before and I felt so much better after eating – not so heavy and weighed down. Or if you really want to have bread, try Daves Killer Bread. They use all whole wheat organic ingredients, and half the amount of sodium per slice.
UGH, COME ON CHENG. (I’m so sorry).
Sushi really does have all the makings of a healthy meal. Seaweed! Lots of nutrients in there. Rice! That’s a healthy carb. Raw salmon! That’s a protein. 5 stars for sushi!!
Except sadly, no.
We have forgotten to take into account all the soy sauce you dip those deliciously healthy pieces of sushi into. (Especially if you’re as gung ho about soy sauce as my beloved boyfriend is).
Also, did you know that they mix sugar into the sushi rice? Up to 2 tbsp of sugar per 2 cups of rice.
You may also think that you’re getting a solid amount of protein in, but unfortunately more often than not, it is a very small amount of tuna/salmon in each roll, and a LOT more rice. That can make for a very carb heavy meal. That’s just in the roll themselves – there is also tempura which is deep fried, the teriyaki boxes which have loads more sodium in them, and any of their spicy mayo which will be high in fat.
AGAIN, i’m not saying you shouldn’t eat sushi. EAT IT ALL YOU WANT. Just don’t think of it as your healthy choice, because unfortunately that is not the case.
OH THANK GOD I’M FINALLY DONE. You thought that was never going to end, did you?
As I mentioned at the start – I was also under the impression that these were all healthy choices, and it wasn’t until I started cutting down on these options that I found my body really started to change. I would never say to cut something out completely (except meat, hehe), but it never hurts to look at the ingredients and nutritional information before eating something.