You can’t pick up a health and fitness magazine these days without reading about the latest health foods. Everyone’s telling you to eat more nuts, drink more smoothies and fill up on superfoods like quinoa, chia seeds, coconut oil, flaxseeds and Goji berries. I love the fact that all this healthy food is now widely known to the public, and people are eating more and more of it. However, there is the possibility that the super healthy food you are filling up on is making you gain some fat. Whilst some of these foods are nutrition powerhouses, providing your body with good fat, protein and antioxidants they can also be high in calories, making it easy to overeat. Whilst I recommend all of these health foods on my F.I.T. programs, I do also advise the required serving sizes, so you don’t overeat. However, there are also some "health foods" that are marketed as being healthy, and could seriously be damaging all your hard work at the gym. Here are just some of the health foods that could potentially be adding some extra inches to your waistline.
I love smoothies, as they make a great meal replacement or snack on-the-go when you are in a rush. They are a great way of getting a high dose of nutrients to the body when you put the right ingredients in. The problem with smoothies is that a lot of people are overdoing it on the ingredients, turning a healthy smoothie into a calorie dense food. They add in too many superfoods, fruit and good fat. When making a smoothie, I generally follow the rule of 1 to 1.5 servings of fruit, 1 serving of good fat/superfood, 1 serving of protein and then a healthy liquid like unsweetened almond milk or coconut water. If you use water you will save more calories. I add extra vegetables into mine for added fibre and vitamins.
For years, nuts were painted as evil in the health and fitness world, because of their high fat content. However, now that fat has made a comeback (so long as it’s good fat), nuts have become an everyday staple for a lot of healthy eaters. Nuts are loaded with heart-healthy fats and make great a great snack, or addition to your morning oats and smoothies. Problem with nuts is they can be a little bit addictive and easy to overeat. As well, not all nuts are created equal regarding nutritional value, with some nuts being healthier than others. Some great nuts to eat are Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Macadamias and Walnuts. 1 serving of nuts can range from 140 calories to 200 calories and a serving size will vary depending on the nuts. For example, 12 cashews is the equivalent to 22 almonds. When eating nuts, remove the serving size from the bag, so you don't overdo it by eating straight from the packet. Nut butter is another one to easily overdo. Make sure to read the labels carefully, as some have added sugars, vegetables oils and salt. Always stick to one tablespoon maximum in your serving.
Coconut oil is another great way to add good fat into your diet and it’s a major craze in the health food world because of all its health benefits. However, just because it’s super healthy for you doesn’t mean you should be overdoing it and frying all of your food in it. Coconut oil is great to cook with because it has a high smoke point, keeping its good fats, even in high heat cooking. Just eat it in moderation.
Soups can be super healthy for you when they are filled with lots of nutrient dense vegetables. However, some people stock up on the store-made soups and think they are doing something good for their body. Be careful of these soups, as a lot of them have added seriously fattening ingredients, like cream and sugar. I like to make my own soup, so I can control what goes in it, but if you must go for store-bought soup make sure you read the ingredient labels carefully.
Protein bars are all marketed as being super healthy and something you need to eat if you workout. Some brands have come up with delicious dessert flavours, making them very tempting to pig out on. Whilst adding protein to your diet is good, especially when you have increased your exercise, getting protein from processed protein bars may be adding some extra fat to your body, and not in a good way. A lot of protein bars have added sugars and are highly processed. Personally, I like to get all my protein from whole foods like lean meat, fish and eggs. If you do need a protein boost on the go, opt for an organic protein shake over a bar.
Organic processed foods:
Just because it has the label of organic, doesn’t mean that you can eat unlimited supplies of it. I see a lot of people that when seeing a food label with ‘organic’ on it instantly assuming it’s good for them. Organic whole foods are amazing for the body, but organic processed foods are not. When you begin to look at the ingredients in the processed organic muesli bars, crackers and snacks, you’ll see their ingredient lists isn’t very different to other processed foods. Whether it’s normal sugar or organic sugar, it can still add inches to your waistline.
Always remember, just because something is marketed as healthy, doesn't mean you can pig out on it. Learn to read your ingredient labels and know your appropriate serving sizes so you don't overeat.