There is no secret to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates will allow not only weight loss, but will also help you maintain a healthy and fit mind and body.
While many know to stay away from foods high in sugar, calories and fat, there are a number of items sitting on our grocery store shelves that people think are healthy but in actuality aren’t. Labels and marketing can make people think something is healthy when in reality it isn’t contributing to a healthy and balanced diet.
Here are three items that aren’t as healthy as you may think!
1. Fat-Free Salad Dressing
Don’t destroy your colorful and healthy salad by dressing it with a bottled fat-free salad dressing. It is true that these salad dressings typically have fewer calories, but they are often filled with a list of not-so-healthy ingredients.
So many people get stuck looking at the grams of fat and are drawn to “non-fat” or “fat-free” when in actuality these items can be worse for you than the full fat options! It is not about eliminating fat from your diet; it is about eliminating the wrong types of fats and allowing healthy fats in moderation. Even though a “fat-fee” dressing may not have the fat, it has other not-so-healthy ingredients such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors (such as yellow 5, yellow 6 and caramel colors), which are not good for you. There is nothing wrong with fat in your salad dressings, but it is about the type of fat and how much you consume. For instance, coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil are great sources of fat to add to your salads!
Here are three of my favorite recipes using healthy oils (each makes one serving):
Gina’s Dijon Garlic Vinaigrette
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 packets stevia
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Mix and drizzle over salad. Toss and enjoy.
Gina’s Lemon Avocado Oil Dressing
1 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger root, minced finely
Mix and drizzle over salad. Toss and enjoy
Gina’s Coconut Lemon Vinaigrette
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
1 packet stevia
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the coconut oil on high for 15 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and drizzle over salad. Toss and enjoy!
2. Egg Beaters
You may think you are being smart by buying these “healthy” eggs in a carton. But Egg Beaters, or any other egg substitute, contain more than 20 ingredients, including egg whites, coloring, vegetable gums, maltodextrin, spices, and vitamins and minerals native to egg yolks. These cartons may be labeled “better than real eggs” because they don’t contain the cholesterol that an egg does. But the reality is that nothing is better than a pure whole organic egg— egg yolk and all!
In fact, research indicates that yolks, in moderation, are not bad for you and don’t raise blood cholesterol like once thought. The dietary cholesterol from an egg is different from blood cholesterol (LDL). Egg yolks contain essential fatty acids, vitamin D, choline, vitamin B and much more! There is no reason to buy the fake carton of eggs, loaded with tons of preservatives, when the real deal is actually the healthier option.
3. Butter-Flavored Microwave Popcorn
Popcorn has been commonly known as a “healthy snack” option. The label may read “94 percent fat free” or better yet, you can find 100-calorie snack bags! The real version of popped corn is a whole grain and indeed healthy, but the problem is most store-bought, butter-flavored microwave popcorn has trans fat and fake flavors added. Your best bet is to make your own popcorn and save yourself the unnecessary trans fat, flavors and extras!
Simply give this recipe a try and you will discover that not only is homemade popcorn much more tasty, it is so easy and can be used as a healthy snack alternative to the store-bought variation!
Gina’s Homemade Popcorn
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup organic popcorn kernels
sea salt to taste
Place coconut oil in a large pot on medium heat. Once it starts to melt, add the popcorn kernels. Cover and remove from heat once the popping starts to slow down. Season with sea salt and/or any other seasoning of your choice and enjoy!
Makes one serving.