Don’t be Fooled by Fake Foods

When trying to make healthier choices for ourselves and our families sometimes it can be tricky to navigate what is available to us in the stores. People should try to have between 25-38g (6-9 tsp) of sugar a day and should stay below 2300 mg or 1 tsp/6g sodium daily.
Here are some examples of food products that although marketed as healthy alternatives to junk foods may be junk foods themselves.

Are you fooled?
Ready packaged minute oatmeal – Sure it is convenient and easy to toss some hot water into a bowl and wait a minute, but is the sugar crash worth it an hour later. These products often have anywhere between 12g-18g of sugar and 230-240mg of sodium per serving, and let’s be honest who is having only one of those tiny packages?

Healthier Choice:
Make your own. Although it might sound a little “Little House on the Prairies” but making your own oats (preferably steel cut but minute is better than prepackaged) really doesn’t take much more time and you can batch make it. You can make a large batch and microwave a bowl of it every morning. Adding Cinnamon and maple syrup will keep you happy and allow you to regulate the amount of sugar you are getting.
Oat Bars
Sure they are marketed to be high in fiber and we aren’t saying they aren’t however they are also extremely high in sugar. And the level of sugar in these products far outweighs any benefits to the added fiber.

Healthier choice:
Well homemade is always best once again we get that it isn’t always an option. Strawberry Blonde Bakery makes nut free, soy free, dairy free granola mix where they use agave to sweeten the product. Also made in small batches allows them to control the freshness of the product without adding in preservatives and chemicals so they have a long lasting shelf life. The granola also goes great with yogurt helping to slow down the sugar release and keeping you full for much longer periods of time.

Yogurt with Berries:
We reach for this because yogurt is good for us, it is an easy snack and it will help you to feel full for long period of time because of the fat and protein Fruit flavoured yogurt is loaded with sugar coming in at around 14g per ¾ of a cup.

Healthier Choice:
Plain Greek Yogurt is a better choice coming 2g of sugar per ¾ cup, so adding your own fresh or frozen berries is the way to go, once again you can regulate how much sugar you are consuming and it is coming from a natural unprocessed source.

Fruit Cocktail Redo
Cut up watermelon, apples, pineapple and add in some grapes. Have this instead of something soaking in a “light syrup” and your body will thank you!

Bread has received a pretty horrible rap these past few years falling in that non-gluten free category. So in order to win people over they have new marketing strategies, boosting high protein, highlighting grains like quinoa or seeds like flax hoping to demonstrate how much healthier they are, but the truth is it is still just overly processed bread. Most coming in at around 110-130 calories PER SLICE and using fructose or corn syrup to sweeten it really isn’t the healthiest option out there.

Healthier Choice:
Again we are so lucky here in Ottawa with so many great bakeries, as a nutritionist that works clients with allergies and sensitivities I am a huge fan of the Strawberry Blonde Bakery. They make an amazing loaf of Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free bread that tastes like something made at home, but probably most exciting for the gluten free people out there is that it is fluffy and bread like. They also use agave to sweeten the bread.

Orange Juice
Yes the only ingredient in a carton of Orange Juice is oranges, however there is a whole process behind it to preserve it’s shelf life. Fresh squeezed orange juice won’t keep because it hasn’t be pasteurized, so really think of the store stuff as sugar water.

Healthier Choice:
Squeezing your own is the best choice, but we live busy lives so when you don’t have time to squeeze your own and not to mention cleaning the machine after, it is best to source out cold pressed from Urban Juice Press. This form of juice making allows the highest amount of nutrients to survive allowing you to benefit the most. However this being said it is still juice and should be consumed in moderation.

Cane Sugar Beverages:
A lot of drinks are coming out and marketing themselves as the healthier alternative because they are made with pure cane sugar. Sure this is a better choice than aspartame like in a diet cola beverage, but it is still liquid sugar. This jumbo boost of sugar destabilizes blood sugar, encourages the development of type 2 diabetes, mood swings, restless sleeps, etc.

Healthier Choices:
If you are looking for something with a sparkle grab for some sparkling water, but be careful about the added sodium, there are now quite a few brands that don’t load up these beverages with sodium and some even flavour the beverages with natural citrus flavours. Kombucha although there is sugar in this beverage is also a better choice because of the extra dose of probiotics you are getting from the beverage.

So I am sure chips are fooling anyone, we know they aren’t great for us we know they have transfats in them, but every now and then they are nice to have as a treat. So we do things like getting the plain chips thinking that because they aren’t full of artificially flavourings they are better for us, and I mean yes they are better than say the rib flavoured chips but that doesn’t mean they are good for you. They are still incredibly high in sodium (170mg of sodium/15 chips) and full of saturated and transfats.

Healthier Option:
The good bean – chickpeas give you the salty crunch you are looking for without all the hydrogenated oils. Or if you want something more suitable for a scoop Urban Juice Press has started using the pulp from their juice making in order to make crisps. They are dehydrated so they avoid the use of any oil and they use pink sea salt instead of processed table salt.

Check out the segment HERE