Contributed by Kate M.

My recipe for avoiding unhealthy health food

  • Watch what you add to salads
  • Use oil and vinegar to dress your salad
  • Eat a variety of nuts instead of a granola bar
  • Get whole grains from bulgar wheat, oatmeal and brown rice instead of sugary cereal

healthy not healthy

You want to do what is best for your family’s health. You listen to the latest nutritional information and read the labels when shopping. Even though you might be paying attention, there are several foods that have health credentials but might not be as healthy as you think. Here are five foods that used to be staples in my diet until I saw the light.

Salads. Now don’t get me wrong salads can be healthy but how they are prepared—with fatty, salt and sugar-filled dressings, croutons, cheese—make them horribly unhealthy.  When ordering a salad, be sure to ask for all the trimmings on the side.

Whole grains. Just because cookies or breakfast cereals contain whole grain does not mean they are healthy. Sugar coated whole grains are not a healthy breakfast. Whole grain muffins are really cupcakes without icing. Whole grain bagels are loaded with carbohydrates and unnecessary calories.  Whole grains are healthiest when they are in oatmeal and breads,

Gluten-Free. Gluten-free products are the latest health food craze. It is good for you if you have celiac disease and cannot digest gluten, but otherwise it is not really necessary. Choosing gluten-free cookies instead of regular cookies does not necessarily make healthier.

Smoothies. Smoothies contain real fruit so they must be healthy. But, on closer inspection many smoothies also contain fruit juice with added sugar, vitamin powder and sorbet. The sugar content in this type of smoothie can be as much as four times the recommended daily sugar intake. Drinking these regularly can contribute to elevated sugar levels, which might lead to Type II diabetes.  Smoothies made from fruit and coconut, almond or hemp milk are healthier alternatives.

Granola bars. Granola is made with whole grains and has been around forever. It must be healthy right? Not modern day granola bars as they are loaded with sugar and oils. You think if you choose it from the vending machine over a candy bar you are being good, but you are eating just as much sugar. When those afternoon cravings hit, choosing nuts and fruit are much healthier options.

How do you make these unhealthy foods healthy? We invite to add your tips in the box below.