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Tuesday, February 15, 2011


We all (or at least most of us) want to eat healthier.  We try to lower the calories we take in, decrease the amount of sugar, eat more fiber, more fruits and veggies.  Problem is, restaurants and food producers know this--and they know that many of us don't know what really is the best for us to eat. 

So we see "natural" and "low fat" and terms like that on so much of the food we see.  But eating foods that we think of as healthy isn't always the case.  With thanks to Food Network's website, here are some foods that we should be wary of when eating "healthy". 
                       Photo courtesty of Food Network
  • Smoothies--Yes, they're made of good fruits and dairy, but the biggest problem with these are the size.  So many smoothies that you buy are huge--and therefore high in calories, sugar and even fat (depending on the dairy used).
  • Salads--Ever order a salad at a restaurant and it comes out looking like enough to feed a family of 4?  Good veggies covered with creamy dressings, cheese, croutons, fried chicken and more.  Ask for your dressing on the side and avoid the "garnishes" that add so much fat and calories.
  • Muffins--Often made with good ingredients, many muffins you can buy are the size of your head.  Big and sugary.  A blueberry muffin from Dunkin Donuts, for example, has over 500 calories, 16 grams of fat and 51 grams of sugar.  Not really what you're looking for in a muffin.
  • Fat-free cookies and snack cakes--Lower fat in baked goods usually means higher sugar and just as many calories.  Not to mention the preservatives used to make them taste decent.
  • Reduced fat peaunut butter--Again, lower fat means more sugar.  And it still has the unhealthy hydrogenated oils. 
  • 100 calorie packs--This seems to be all the rage lately.  100 calorie packs of tiny cookies or whatever.  Tiny is the operative word.  The packs are so small, they don't satisfy and what happens?  You eat another one.  Or two.  Low nutrition and high sugar (and high cost).  Make some healthy trail mix.
  • Granola--Some granola cereals have over 600 calories in 1 cup.  Yikes.  That's more than Count Chocula!  If you want to eat it anyway, mix it with some whole grain cereal.  But if the nutrition info has sugar in the top 3 ingredients, get something else.
  •                      Photo courtesy of Food Network
  • Enhanced water and sports drinks--Sugar water made attractive by added vitamins.  Loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners mean you're much better off just drinking water (add some lemon if you want more flavor).
  • Low-fat salty snacks--Pretzels, baked chips and the like aren't the worst you can eat.  But they contain a lot of empty calories and don't have much fiber.  Just limit your intake or eat them as an accompaniment to something healthy--like a good soup.
Bottom line is that there are a lot worse things you could eat than these items.  But be smart, limit the amount you eat, make wise choices as a substitute and--probably your best bet--make your own.  Then you know exactly what's going in them--and into you!

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