By now, we all have a pretty good idea of which foods aren’t particularly healthy.
Cheeseburgers, cronuts, hot chips, Nutella Oreos (a DIY creation, try it, you can thank me later) and all similar food options are all DELICIOUS, but quite clearly offer zero nutritional value and maximum calories. We all know that.
It’s on the healthy side of things where it all starts to get a bit confusing. After all, there are plenty of foods out there that are seemingly healthy – but on closer inspection, are actually really not all that good for you.
Here are some healthy-but-not-healthy foods to be aware of, so you can be truly informed the next time you’re pushing your trolley through the supermarket.
1. Multi-grain bread
I get all smug when I opt for anything but white bread with my sandwich. To me, anything with any reference to “grains” sounds pretty good, so I just assumed that all those brown breads were bound to be healthy.
Oh, how silly I have been. It turns out that you really want wholegrain bread – not multi-grain or wholemeal – as it contains the entire grain, which is a good source of everything from protein and iron to Vitamin E and magnesium.
Other breads, such as wholemeal bread, can still contain refined flour, which means that they’re not as high in fibre and nutrients. So when you’re shopping for bread at the supermarket, always look for packaging that says “wholegrain” on the pack and take a look at the ingredients. Your bread should be made up of at least 51% wholegrains and not contain any hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
The Heart Foundation also suggests choosing breads based on their nutritional panels; look for those with sodium 400mg or less per 100g and fibre 4g or more per 100g.
Nuts are excellent, in that they provide a great mix of omega-3 acids and protein. That is until they start being salted or roasted – sadly, high temperatures, excess salt and unhealthy roasting oils can quickly kill the nutritional benefits of your nutty snack.
I know it’s not as tasty, but go for the unsalted, dry-roasted versions of your almonds, cashews and peanuts. And keep an eye on portion sizes so you’re not gorging yourself on crazy amounts of nuts (according to the Healthy Food Guide, 15 brazil nuts contain more kilojoules than your standard Mars Bar). The Heart Foundation suggests that a serving of nuts is 30 grams, about a handful.
Sushi is a great lunch or dinner option… unless you’re always going for the sushi rolls with plenty of mayonnaise or deep-fried tempura options. (Which I do.)
Unfortunately, it’s a fast way to turn your meal around into unhealthy territory.
If you do go for Japanese, stick to the sashimi and the traditional healthier rolls, and grab some edamame to accompany it all as well.
4. Gluten-free food
These days, gluten-free food is kept in the ‘healthy’ aisles of supermarkets, so it’s easy to think that you’re automatically being healthier if you’re going for a gluten-free cake mix rather than a regular one. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.