Five “Unhealthy” Foods You Thought You Would Never Eat Again!
We live in a food-free diet world: carb-free, fat-free, gluten-free, and so on… Too often, nutrition advice comes in the form of what not to eat, rather than what to eat. We are led to believe that it is food that harms us when, in fact, it is the restriction of foods that can lead to weight gain, disordered eating, and nutritional deficiencies.
Sound nutrition advice is backed by scientific evidence and focuses on the foods you eat — not those that you leave out. I have compiled a short list of foods that are commonly labeled as being unhealthy, but are in actuality quality foods you can feel good about including in your diet.
Keto, low-carb, and other fad diets have long been steering us away from this staple food. You may have said bye-bye to bread a long time ago, but wheat bread is a quality source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that many of us are lacking in our diets. Folate, iron, and calcium are fortified in store-bought breads, making it a great option for kids with growing bones and brains. Breads made from whole wheat or that contain nuts and seeds are especially high in dietary fiber, a powerhouse nutrient that helps stabilize blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria, and can even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Try a goat cheese and mint sandwich: spread goat cheese, thinly sliced red peppers, 5-6 fresh mint leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil on lightly toasted wheat bread.
Protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin D, and B vitamins are just a few of the nutrients that abound in cow’s milk. Milk is a healthy drink high in protein and quality nutrition, although it is often overlooked as something only kids drink (milk is great for adults, too!). Milk has a lot more protein than its nut-milk counterparts, making it a great addition to a vegetarian meal, as base for a breakfast smoothie, or as part of a quick, filling snack. Lactose intolerant? Talk with a dietitian about other healthy drink options that will meet your nutritional needs.
Try a high-protein Elvis breakfast smoothie: blend 1 cup low-fat milk, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, ½ banana, and a dash of ground cinnamon.
When included as part of a balanced diet, potatoes themselves are very nutritious. They are high in potassium, vitamin C, and B6, which all support good cardiovascular health. They are a substantial source of protein for a vegetable, and contain our good friend, fiber, who we know is on our side!
Try adding cubed potatoes to your next curry or stir-fry, to add a filling component.
- Fruit Juice
100 percent fruit juices contain natural sugars, but this is not something to be scared of! A moderate portion of fruit juice (4-8 fluid ounces) contains about as many calories as a piece of whole fruit, with all the same vitamins and minerals. Juices high in Vitamin C, like orange juice, can help our bodies absorb other important nutrients from the food we eat, like iron. Juices from tropical fruits, like mango or papaya, contain natural enzymes that help us digest the proteins in meat.
Fruit juice makes for a healthy addition to a breakfast on-the-go, starting your day with a healthy dose of Vitamin C for a healthy immune system, Vitamin A for nervous health, and electrolytes to keep you hydrated.
Looking for a refreshing midday pick-me-up? Try replacing your midday coffee jog with a glass of fruit juice. It makes for a refreshing, sweet treat, while also providing you with an energy boost and hydration to get you through the rest of the day.
- Salad Dressing
Hold the phone — really? Yes. Research shows that kids eat more vegetables when they have something tasty to dip them in, and we adults are no different. Salad dressings, even those that are creamy, contain nutrient-dense fatty acids that not only make veggies more enjoyable, but also help us absorb the vital nutrients we get from our veggies. Dressing a salad gives it more nutrient density, keeping you fuller, for longer, too.
Try this easy, lemony homemade salad dressing:
mix together ½ tablespoon anchovy paste, 1 clove of minced garlic, the zest and juice of 1 small lemon. Slowly whisk in 6-7 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Food is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated. If you continue to struggle allowing yourself to eat forbidden foods, please reach out to your health provider or a registered dietitian. Happy eating!
About Anna Grindeland:
Anna Grindeland is a local dietitian, who believes in separating fact from myth when it comes to good nutrition. She offers individual nutrition counseling to adults and children at her independent nutrition practice, Three Forks Nutrition, located in downtown Pullman.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator, Anna sees clients struggling with disordered eating, nutrition for diabetes and other chronic health conditions, and those seeking reliable nutrition consulting. You can contact Anna for a free 30-minute nutrition consult through her website http://www.threeforksnutrition.com.
Anna Grindeland, RDN, CDE, CD
Three Forks Nutrition LLC
115 SW Blaine Street, Ste. C
Pullman, WA 99163
PH: (509) 270-1020