With the rise in fast food chains taking over the food industry, people were induced towards it. The idea of taking in modernized expensive food along with saving time and energy in cooking food contributed to its growth. But, as more fast foods and packaged foods grew, they also proved to be unhealthy. This led to the health consciousness among people which drove them back to the grounded food. In all this evolution, today we have an abundance of available food options. Due to this, it has become difficult to differentiate between Healthy and Unhealthy Foods.
But, how do we classify healthy and unhealthy food? Let’s see.
What are Healthy and Unhealthy Foods
There are just a few additions and subtraction of elements in food that may turn a healthy meal into an unhealthy one. Healthy food is mainly one that is rich in essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, fibre, minerals, etc. Besides, such food should be fresh and so it can help to keep you fit. However, when during processing, this food loses its nutrients and instead becomes rich in sugar, calories, sodium, etc, it becomes unhealthy food.
Salad greens are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, fibre, etc but when restaurants dress them with decoratives such as sugar, vegetable oils, etc, it becomes unhealthy to intake.
Similarly, yogurt is high in protein and has a lot of health benefits but when it is flavored with lots of sugar, it is not suggested to intake as a “Healthy Food”
That is why it is all about the processing of food that can make an unhealthy diet out of a super healthy ingredient.
Here is the healthy food list which is not so healthy in a real sense.
- Commercially dressed Salads
Nothing is considered as healthy as a Salad. It is always referred to as a complete one-time meal and not starters or sides. On one hand, it keeps you full, on the other salad greens contain many nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, folate, fibre, etc.
But, how much it takes to make healthy food an unhealthy one.
With a little creamy dressing for the salad to look good and tada, the healthy perk of Salad is lost. In restaurants and hotels, dressed salads such as Caesar salad infused with cheese and sauces lose the utility for which anyone considers it in their healthy diet.
Your salad should be infused with nutrients and not a high amount of calories. So, here’s what I suggest:
- Dark leafy greens such as Spinach, Kale
- Proteins such as Egg, chickpea, White beans
- Veggies such as Cucumber, Olives, Cauliflower, Onion, Tomato
- Fruits such as Avocado, apple
As an extra, you can also add almonds, walnuts, raisins, etc for it to look good and retain its nutrients as well.
- Fruit Juices
Juices are said to be good for health, which they are. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other necessary chemicals. Drinking fruit juice helps in reducing blood pressure and the risk of a heart attack.
But, it won’t be wrong to say fruit juices are high in sugar levels which are harmful to diabetic people. Also, juicing loses the most of fibre present in the fruits as intact which again loses the utility of drinking fruit juices.
Fruit juices can not be the alternative for intact fruits. Rather than fruit juices, it is suggested to take intact fruits as it has all the necessary chemicals, minerals and vitamins, and besides it also retains the fibre required by the body.
- Flavoured Yogurt
Yogurt has been considered to be an extremely healthy food for hundreds of years. Our ancestors have been giving it to children as it boosts their immunity. Then, why am I saying it’s bad? Well, if you read, I said flavoured Yogurt is not good for you.
If you are thinking, a little bit of flavoured yogurt won’t affect you, you are absolutely wrong. The presence of flavors in the otherwise healthy yogurt is enough to ruin its healthiness. You should see on the pack how much sugar you are intaking with the belief of having a healthy snack.
Plain Yogurt, simple. Plain yogurt is really tasty if you don’t know. Moreover, it is rich in Vitamin B, Minerals, Calcium, and protein which are beneficial for your health. So, surely go for plain yogurt.
- Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are a substitute for fruits as they retain their nutritional value such as Vitamins and Calcium.
Simultaneously, dried fruits also have more than double the calories of fresh fruits and are loaded with loads and loads of sugar. This can lead to increased diabetic risks. They are high in calories and carbs as well. Also, dried fruits are easy to eat, due to which they are easily overeaten. Then, can we consider it a healthy food? Absolutely not.
Substitute dried fruit with a proper fruit that gives all the natural nutrients and in the right quantity. A perfect food for your good health.
- Protein Bars
There are various protein options people consider in order to meet their daily protein requirements. Protein Bars are one of the prominent choices they opt for. Well, is it a really good option? I would say no.
Protein Bars are no more than a pack of chocolate and sugars in the name of rich protein. They are actually very high in carbohydrates than proteins. And how does it help when you are eating more unhealthy ingredients than healthy ones? So, you should think twice while considering Protein bars a healthy food for yourself.
I would say, be aware of ingredients. There are many companies making protein bars that are actually higher in protein than carbs and sugar. So, check it and then choose it.
Alternatively, eggs whites, almonds, and fruits such as Apple and avocado are also good sources of protein.
Granola is a mixture of nuts, oats, puffed rice, honey, and other sweeteners roasted or baked until golden brown and is considered a healthy breakfast. Due to all the healthy and protein-rich ingredients, it is a wholesome and healthy diet. It provides many minerals, vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, etc.
But, sometimes it is not. Not all granola is made with these ingredients. Some include fatty oils and are high in sugars and other sweeteners which take away the health benefits of granola.
You can substitute Granola with muesli or cornflakes, which are healthy food items and are wholesome meals. And if you want to eat granola, it would be better to make it yourself at home with controlled ingredients.
The food is healthy or not depends completely on the way it is processed. Otherwise, everyone knows naturally grown foods are most beneficial and healthy. But, the nutritional health of a processed food depends on the ingredients used and the quantity intaken and as always, it takes no more than one or two added ingredients to make a healthy diet an unhealthy one. You need to take care of what is included in the food you are eating. My dietician told me, the right way is to calculate the calories you are intaking and burning. The difference of this, with more burning than eating, is where your weight loss exists. A calorie deficit is key. Be aware of the nutritional value of the pack of the processed food items.