I’ll admit it. I spend way too much time in a grocery store. As the designated shopper & care giver of my household, I often find myself picking up odds and ends throughout the week. And because I’m the curious person that I am, I always like to see what healthy foods other people are buying. Groceries carts say a lot about us.
Well, on one particular trip this past week, I noticed a lady with almond milk in her cart. Being that I live in a small town, my interest always perks when I see a fellow almond milk drinker. But then I noticed the brand. As I kept pushing my toilet paper and air filter filled cart down the aisle, I couldn’t help but wonder why she picked that particular brand. Maybe because it was the cheapest option? Maybe she thought it was healthier? I’ll never know.
As the dominos of wonder began to fall, I asked myself, “How often do we, myself included, buy things we think are healthy because we have no clue they aren’t?” Is what we think is healthy really the healthiest of the options? With that in mind, today I want to talk about the sneaky things we think are healthy but we may not always pick the best version.
Nut Milk – With dairy getting a bad rep, more and more people are reaching for nut milk. Chocolate or vanilla, sweetened or un-sweetened, we have so many options available. For those of us that need the lactose free solution, it’s great that we can pick from so many. But when we buy the sugar filled, carrageenan boosted options, we may be doing more harm than good. One great option is to make it yourself. This way you can naturally sweeten it with dates or honey. But if you’re in a time crunch, look for non-gmo options that are unsweetened. Silk & Whole Foods are great choices.
Pasta Sauce – Even though it’s quite simple to make, grabbing a jar off the shelf at the store can make for a great last minute dinner. But more often than not, these jars are filled with added sugars. Sugar can cause inflammation and has even been linked to depression. Unfortunately, so much of our food today has it added. Be sure to read your labels and watch out for unnecessary added sugars.
Gluten Free Pasta – I love a good GF pasta. It’s a pantry staple in our house for nights that I want a quick meal. However, a lot of the gluten free options use corn as a filler for the pasta. While corn isn’t always a bad thing, some people struggle to process corn well depending on the form. Instead of reaching for the corn based version, opt for the chickpea pasta or black bean. You’ll get the added fiber & protein in your meal while still getting in your carb fix.
Dried Fruit – Recently, I’ve developed an obsession with dried mango. It’s a thing for me. It’s a great sweet treat for me instead of candy. But I find that I always have to read the labels and check for sugar. I do my best to cut out the extra sugar. Be sure to read before you buy so you know you’re just getting fruit.
Nut Butter – I feel like this is really just my soap box for hidden sugars in food. But the same is the case with nut butter. I’m a huge almond butter fan. You’ll find a thing or two of Justin’s in my bag at all times. I opt for the plain ones because they don’t have sugar in them. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to make your own. Throw some almond, sunflowers or whatever you’re looking to turn into but into the food processor. Let it go for about 10 minutes occasionally scraping it down. The heat from the processor will break down the oils and you’ll have homemade nut butter in no time. It’s the best!
Bread – I love bread. It can be a great source of whole grains and fiber. Unfortunately, soy is something that is often added in. As a someone on a plant-based diet, I have to be careful about getting my daily protein intake. But I try to be conscious about how much soy I consume. Soy has been known to affect hormone levels when too much is consumed especially when it’s genetically modified. Be sure to choose organic and non-gmo when possible.
I could probably go on and on about sugar and soy in products we think are good for us. But the best thing you can do is to read labels. Be knowledge about the different forms these show up as in food. Also, if you’re looking for affordable options for healthy foods, trader joes and thrive are great choices!
Do you have any food you thought were healthy only to learn it could have been better? What are some of your favorite healthy foods to eat?
I hope this helped shed some light for you on your health journey and that you learned something new.
Until next time.