As a travel nurse, having a nice ‘sit down’ meal is not always possible when you’re busy working and visiting attractions near your temporary home. You look for quick, filling snacks to keep up with your active nurse lifestyle. And while you’re proud to say you avoid the drive-thrus, you may not be doing your body as much good with your breakfast, lunch, or dinner substitutions. Here are 5 foods that are commonly misconceived as healthy that you may want to reconsider indulging in.
“Gasp! But… but it has hazelnut and skim milk! How can this creamy goodness be unhealthy?” Yes, Nutella highlights its use of those two ‘beneficial’ ingredients. But turn the jar around and read the sugar content. 21 grams, about half the recommended serving for the average non-diabetic. And that is for every 2 tbs. you consume. So maybe shoveling the spread to your mouth by the spoonful when you have a craving for something sweet isn’t the best option. In comparison to nutrition, Nutella is probably about as healthy as devouring cake icing from the container. Put that peanut butter-chocolate alternative back on the shelf. It’s really no better than what it’s replacing. Hummus, however, can be considered a better option that covers Nutella’s primary purpose.
Yet again another food you’ve most likely been led to believe does nothing but good for the body. Think twice before trusting that friendly looking William Penn character you find on the Quaker Oats box. There’s a reason it tastes so good. Between its excessive amount of added sugar and oils, this carb-loaded snack is nothing but a high calorie trick. Consider replacing granola with a fiber and protein rich whole-grain cereal, such as Shredded Wheat or Honey Nut Cheerios.
3) Dried Fruit
Just because it has the word “fruit” in its title does not make this munchie healthy. Fresh fruit is made of mostly water, so drying it out not only reduces the water volume, but also increases the amount of sugar per serving. Not to mention the flavor of dried fruit is often enhanced by added refined sugar. Bye-bye nutrition. Skip out on the box of raisins and stick to the juicy grapes they originally were.
4) Energy Bars
So you think you’re making the right choice by swapping the caffeine of coffee with the verve of an energy bar? Not so much. Unless your goal was to introduce your body to some high fructose corn syrup, added sugar, and artery-clogging saturated fat, you may want to put down that morning pick-me-up. Some bars even contain up to 350 calories! That’s not exactly “snack size” nutrition. It is advised to stick to natural, vitality-providing fruit when you’re looking for a snack to get you going, such as an energy-boosting banana.
In the bakery, you’ll be faced with that oh-so difficult choice of choosing a muffin vs. doughnut. The health conscious individual will most likely scoff at the cream covered glaze and pick up the bran. Unfortunately, there was no right choice there. Most commercially sold muffins contain about 800 calories of sugar and fat. And we’re not even talking about the chocolate kind! Rice cakes are a good alternative if you’re looking for something filling and on the healthier side.