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5 Unhealthy “Health Foods”

By Jessica Morris on July 26, 2013, categorized in Plant-based Nutrition

5 Unhealthy “Health Foods”

Just because it’s found in the health food section, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy! With so many fancy words and phrases—such as “gluten-free,” “low calorie,” and “fat free”—it’s easy to assume that many of these so-called health foods are beneficial to your body. Here are the top 5 seemingly healthy foods that may be contrary to your best efforts to eat clean!

  1. Rice Cakes:
    Although these “healthy” cakes are labelled as low calorie and low fat, they are your blood sugar’s worst enemy—especially if they are the caramel covered variety. With no fiber or fat, these cakes are digested by your body into glucose and cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, ultimately leading to a crash, which leaves you hungry soon after. The key to weight and energy management is sustaining a balanced blood sugar level. If enjoy rice cakes, it’s ok to have them  in moderation. Just be sure to add nut or seed butter to them to bring down the glycemic index of the food and balance your blood sugar.
  2. Vegan Dessert:
    Just because these sweet treats are labeled vegan, doesn’t make it okay to consume them on a regular basis. They are almost always full of sugar and high in calories. I definitely abide to the 80/20 rule—consuming treats 20% of the time—but beware of labelling. Yes, most vegan foods are healthy, if they are whole and unprocessed! Try making your own dessert, something simple such as almond butter stuffed dates sprinkled with cinnamon!
  3. Salad Dressing:
    While browsing the salad dressing aisle last night during a grocery haul, I noticed that almost all salad dressings on the shelf were full of preservatives, colors, sugar, artificial flavoring and even dye! Rule of thumb: if a dressing is “low fat”, it’s most likely full of sugar, to make up for the missing flavor or feeling of satiety (fullness) that would otherwise be contributed by the missing fat! I recommend making your own dressing with an Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, spices, sea salt and lemon juice. Quick, easy and yummy! Ditch the bottled stuff!
  4. Granola:
    I must admit–I do love a bowl of granola from time to time, but it’s difficult to find a healthy one! Most granolas on the shelves of the grocery stores are jam-packed with sugars, sweeteners and dried fruit. When selecting granola, look for one lower in sugars (especially if you’re adding fruit to your granola), or better yet, make your own version. Granola is a healthy food that can be taken to the extreme in a not-so-healthy way. Look for simple, natural, low sugar (or naturally sweetened) versions.
  5. Nut/Seed Butter:
    I also love almost any type of nut butter. It is so versatile, delicious and can stabilize your blood sugar levels and ward off hunger. But choosing the right type of nut or seed butter is very important. Most generic nut butters are full of hydrogenated oils, sugar, color and preservatives. Yuck! I highly recommend looking for natural, organic nut/seed butters that have fewer than three ingredients. Making your own nut butter is simple and easy, but if you’re on the go or are looking for  a quick fix, choosing raw, non-hydrogenated nut/seed butters with no sugar added is the way to go!

Here’s to making smarter choices at the grocery store. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Jessica Morris

A Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), Jessica specializes in blood sugar and weight management, natural sports nutrition and longevity. Jessica is a certified personal trainer and indoor cycling instructor. Her enthusiasm for plant-based nutrition, fitness, and health inspires her clients to take charge of their health and create positive changes.
Jessica Morris