Eating healthily and cutting down on the bad stuff is simple right? Well, not exactly, because there are lots of food products in our supermarkets advertised as ‘healthy’ but actually contain hidden sprinkles of sugar, calorie-packed dressings, and more.
A balanced diet for healthy living should include a mixture of all food groups – with a little extra weighting to fruit and veg – so while it is perfectly OK to eat a little bit of everything, keeping an eye on nutrition labels and portion control can be just as important when eating healthy foods as well as the not so healthy stuff.
Here’s six ‘healthy’ foods to consume with caution:
Classic hummus provides a great source of protein, healthy fats and fibre, but portion control is key when tucking in. Hummus has a surprisingly high calorie content – particularly the full fat varieties – so stick to one serving (two tablespoons) to keep the calorie count to under 80 calories. Choosing raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumber and pepper as dippers instead of crisps and pitta bread will also help to keep your hummus snack healthy.
Despite being a favourite healthy eating staple – providing essential omega 3 fatty acids and minerals – sushi can be high in calories. Varieties that are deep-fried and contain a high content of rice and fat laden sauces are best avoided. Stick to simple sushi rolls that are not fried and contain fresh fish and vegetables.
A bowl of granola or muesli for breakfast may seem like a healthy way to start the day, but many of these cereals actually contain high levels of sugar and can serve up to 500 calories per bowl. When checking labels, aim to avoid granolas that contain sugary ingredients such as fructose, corn syrup, chocolate or cornstarch and beware of terms like ‘frosted’ or ‘glazed’.
Dried fruit is a healthy addition to your diet, but choosing no added sugar varieties and monitoring portion sizes is key to preventing sugar crashes and weight gain. Eating dried fruit such as dried cranberries or apricots straight from the bag will easily lead to overeating, so stick to single servings of around 60 calories each (eight apricot halves and two tablespoons of dried cranberries).
Potatoes are technically vegetables, but they have a high glycaemic index and when eaten in excess can contribute to weight gain. If you eat potatoes regularly, choose healthier baked and boiled options over fried and roasted potatoes and stick to the following portion sizes:
- Two to four egg-sized new potatoes.
- One medium baked potato.
- Two tablespoons of mashed potato.
- 10 oven chips.