When you see the words “all natural” or “organic” on a food label what else comes to mind besides being really good for you? Well, it tuns out there is plenty to think about. If you don’t know this by now, food marketing is BIG business, and the words “natural” and “organic” are just two ways the food mavens try to lure you into the den of bad and addictive eating. Below are a couple of common everyday foods I bet you eat because you you were lured into thinking they are good for you, along with the more nutritious swap you can make today.
Fruit Sweetened Yogurt
Do you want to know another name for fruit flavored yogurts? Candy. Look at the labels. Some flavored yogurts have as much as 25 grams of sugar. A cup of Stonyfield’s Organic Blueberry Yogurt has 29 grams of sugar. Think vanilla yogurt escapes the wrath? Stonyfield Organic Vanilla Yogurt has 28 grams of sugar. By the way, a teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams. Account for some natural sugar in dairy and you still have about 5 teaspoons of sugar in a cup (if you want to know more about my take on sugar read it here).
Healthy Swap: Plain Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is higher in protein) topped with raspberries and a drizzle of honey.
Oatmeal. The mainstay of a healthy breakfast, all whole grain and high fiber goodness. It conveniently comes in individual packs to enjoy on the run. But why all the extra sugar and salt? A single packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple and Brown Sugar has 12 grams of sugar and 253mg of salt.
Healthy Swap: Make your own oatmeal. Old Fashioned Oats take approximately five minutes from pot to bowl – seriously. A splash of milk, some blueberries and almonds and you are all set for the morning. Add a drizzle of honey if you prefer. Zero sodium and 1 gram of sugar.
Don’t be fooled by the multigrain label, another marketing term to make food sound like it is bursting with whole grains. A serving of Stacey’s Multigrain Chips has 270mg of sodium and almost no fiber.
Healthy Swap: Do you remember Wasa Crisps as a child? They are back, and here to stay. I remember my mother having these around as a kid and she was on to something. One slice of a crisp (which is probably equal to six crackers) is 35 calories, 2 grams of fiber and almost no sodium. Great to dip with hummus or other hearty dips.
Bottled BBQ sauce
It is no traditional summer meal without the grilled chicken and a big bottle of BBQ sauce on the table. But why all the sugar? I more wrote more about this here. BBQ sauce companies are notorious for sweetening up their sauce, it keeps you coming back for more. One serving of Sweet Baby Rays has 17 grams of sugar, too much for me to douse on my kids chicken.
Healthy Swap: I love using zero calorie dry rubs, or my own marinades for grilling chicken or fish. To make an easy BBQ dry rub, click here for the recipe and how to use it.
Canned soup might be a quick and healthy addition to anyone’s diet if it weren’t for the ridiculous amount of sodium in each can (or box). In one cup of Pacific All Natural Lentil Soup lurks 720mg of sodium, that is almost half the salt you need in a day.
Healthy Swap: Homemade soup. You probably use about a teaspoon of salt in a whole recipe and never know the difference. For some of the soups I have posted click here.
I would love to hear about your ideas for healthy swaps! Post your ideas below and share the love.
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