Averi Amsterdam, Staff Writer
Summer is right around the corner, so almost everyone is in a healthy eating frenzy. Whether it is summer body goals or trying to provide yourself with the right fuel to power through the rest of the semester, it is important that your meals consist of healthy food.
Some Sports Drinks & Premade Smoothies
Making it to the gym is a step in the healthy direction, but following the workout with a sports drink, such as a Gatorade, Vitamin Water, or a premade smoothie, negates the hard work out and the sweat you just broke. Sports drinks are often loaded with an excess amount of sugar and calories.
The Houston Press suggests, “If your beverage has more than two or three ingredients, try something else.”
Smoothies are often made with sugary fruit juice and syrups. Both will only fill you up for a short period of time before you are hungry again.
Kaitlin Steinberg of the Houston Press said, “Skip the store smoothie and make one at home with plain yogurt, a banana, some strawberries, and ice. If you need a little more sweetness, add some honey.”
Many think that by substituting granola for their usual bowl of cereal, they are having a healthier breakfast, but that isn’t necessarily true.
“Most have too much sugar and very little fiber. A healthy breakfast cereal should be the exact opposite,” Dietitian Keri Gans warns.
If you don’t want to search for another cereal, have only a small helping of granola over some plain yogurt.
For starters, fat-free does not mean calorie free.
“When food chemists take the fat out of something, it has to be replaced by something else to add more flavor. Unfortunately, that something else is usually sodium and/or sugar,” said Steinberg.
Fat, like anything in moderation, is necessary to stay healthy. Fat also gives you the full feeling preventing you from eating more. When fat-free foods are consumed, people often believe they can eat more because of the label. Instead, stick to the regular version of the fat-free food, enjoy it in moderation, and look for healthy polyunsaturated fats over the hydrogenated oils.
When grocery shopping, avoid the premade salad kits and buy the individual salad components to make your own at home. When out to eat, ordering a salad isn’t necessarily the healthy option; they may contain just as many calories, as much fat, and as little nutrition as any other menu item.
Steinberg explains, “Once you add cheese, meat, croutons, and creamy dressings to the salad, the fat piles up fast.”
Gans suggests if you still want to order a salad while dining out, always ask for dressing on the side, skip anything made with mayonnaise such as tuna or egg salad, and go for grilled chicken or chickpeas instead. Add just a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and almonds or sunflower seeds for the added flavor and crunch.
Trail Mix & Dried Fruit
The mid-afternoon snack cravings begin and you think you’re making the healthy option by reaching for some trail mix or dried fruits instead of snacking on the cookies in your cabinet. This is true to an extent, as long as you make sure to be mindful of the ingredients in these healthier snacks. When eating the nuts from the mix, your body is receiving the healthy fats it needs, but when picking out the chocolate-covered candies and yogurt-covered raisins, you may as well have reached for a candy bar instead. Nuts are often highly salted so, instead, opt for the raw or lightly salted options. Dried fruits often have added sugars and nitrates in addition to other preservatives, and they take out the water the non-dried version would have provided to keep you hydrated. Opt for the real version instead!
This list isn’t intended to make grocery shopping and choosing what to eat more stressful. It is intended to encourage you to be more mindful of what you ingest. Once you find the right healthy foods, your goals will be much easier to accomplish.