Yes, you read the title right. What’s great about society becoming more health conscious is the fact that larger numbers of people and their families are taking the steps necessary to promote better overall well being and ensure longer lives. However, the very food items that were designed to provide healthier options are sometimes as guilty of being unhealthy in some ways as the foods we try to avoid in the first place. Diet foods in particular can fall into this weird category.
Just as you may have heard that not all things labeled “organic” mean they are healthier, the same goes with certain diet foods. The truth is that, if not carefully checked out, you could be consuming diet foods that are actually high in fat, which defeats the purpose of trying to eat better in the first place. Before you become discouraged, it is important to know that there are ways to go around this challenge and guarantee that the foods you and your family eat on a regular basis really are good for you.
Often touted as the best snack food for lounging at home or while enjoying the outdoors, the reality is that the majority of the name brand trail mix products available on grocery store shelves are not only chock full of fat, the delicious food items inside are even deep fried or contain oils that are high in trans and saturated fats. This is especially the case if your trail mix of choice is the kind that has anything covered in yogurt or chocolate. Avoid this misleading diet food by skipping the prepackaged version and creating your own from scratch. Grab a handful of your favorite nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, cereal (whole grain is ideal) and bits of dark chocolate and toss them together in a bag and enjoy on the spot.
As soon as fruit smoothies hit the scene, they became synonymous with diet foods. Loading up on one fruit smoothie provides the body with a ton of antioxidants, vitamins and other goodies and can even help fight against hunger pangs by keeping the stomach feeling full throughout the day. However, these are often the fattiest smoothies, which mean adding extra calories - definitely no help to anyone on a diet. Instead, pick your fruit smoothie wisely by opting for those without sherbet, frozen yogurt, granola or sorbet. Doing so guarantees you’ll only be taking in the good calories and ingredients, minus the loads of unnecessary fats.
While beef continues to be “what’s for dinner,” more and more families are switching to ground turkey. Although ground turkey is a much healthier choice, choosing the wrong kind could actually provide your family with more grams of fat - up to three times that of lean ground beef. This is due to the fat and skin that often comes with the meat. The solution? Only purchase extra lean turkey. This is where reading the label comes into play. Extra lean turkey with no saturated fats per serving and only one gram of fat is ideal.
Fat Free Dressing:
People often think they’re doing right by their bodies by using fat free salad dressing but the truth is that this is one of those exceptions to the rule where it is okay to consume fat. The fats found in salad dressings are necessary for providing the body with vital antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lycopene. Reach for a reduced fat (not fat free) salad dressing instead. Make sure it’s oil based and contains canola and/or olive oil.
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