Healthy food may not be as easy to identify as you thought.
For example, burgers and fries will always be bad for you, while fruits and vegetables will always be considered healthy food.
Following that train of thought, there is a list of common foods that many people consider to be healthy food.
However, with just a little bit of research and simply reading the nutrition labels, you’ll discover that a lot of the supposedly healthy food out there actually isn’t.
While most of these foods won’t completely ruin your diet, they should be eaten in moderation and shouldn’t be taken so lightly.
Is sushi on your healthy food list?
Traditional Japanese sushi made of rice, raw fish and seaweed can be considered a healthy food. However, when you start eating a Westernized version, like the popular Philadelphia Roll, that nutrition value goes flying out the window.
Cream cheese, sweet sauce, mayonnaise and fried batter are just a few examples of how these calorie-busting ingredients can turn this healthy food into something that isn’t healthy at all.
Oh, and if you really want to maximize the health benefits of sushi, you should skip the rice and eat the raw fish by itself as sashimi instead.
Are energy bars on your healthy food list?
As a meal supplement, an energy bar every so often can be a good alternative to not eating anything at all. Skipping or missing a meal can ruin your caloric intake for the day because it can lead to binge eating later.
An energy bar is perfect for keeping you satisfied while providing you with the carbohydrates, protein and calories to keep you fueled.
However, many people consume energy bars as a snack, making this healthy food, not so healthy.
At that point, you might as well have a chocolate candy bar instead.
Is granola on your healthy food list?
Granola is well-known as a healthy snack, topping or ingredient. People just love grabbing a quick and convenient granola bar to satisfy their hunger between meals.
While all those oats and fibers do, indeed, sound nutritious, a quick look at most nutrition labels will shock you. Many granola bars and cereals come with added sugar and calories to keep them sweet and flavorful.
The fact that granola is touted as a healthy food snack, plus the added taste from all that extra sugar, keeps customers reaching for more, completely unaware of how many calories they are consuming.
Before you buy this healthy food, make sure you properly read the label beforehand, and choose the low-calorie, low-sugar and high-fiber variety.
Are salads on your healthy food list?
Salads are great when substituted for a full meal, or to help you get full so that you eat less of the main course.
However, restaurants are great at destroying a healthy food and turning it into a caloric nightmare.
Fatty salad dressings, croutons, cheese and a heavy helping of meat can make a salad no different than eating a full-size meal. If your salad comes with a breaded chicken breast, it is no longer a salad; it is a breaded chicken breast with a side of lettuce.
Are smoothies on your healthy food list?
With all those fruits, health supplements and even veggies, in some cases, a smoothie sounds like a healthy food treat.
Unfortunately, the addition of sugar and fatty yogurt can turn most of these healthy food beverages into something that resembles a milkshake.
A good rule of thumb: The sweeter it tastes, the unhealthier the smoothie is.
Are bran muffins on your healthy food list?
Most people know that a good helping of bran for breakfast in the morning is a healthy way to start the day.
A bran muffin does not count as healthy food.
The bran you should be eating typically comes from a cereal box with skim milk and maybe a side of fresh fruit. A bran muffin, on the other hand, is loaded with sugars and refined flour, which are two things your body doesn’t need that early in the morning.
Are pretzels on your healthy food list?
Pretzels are often viewed as a healthier alternative to potato chips. While this is probably true since they are baked and not fried, and tend to have fewer calories, they aren’t exactly healthy.
That’s right, being healthier than potato chips does not actually make them healthy food.
Most pretzels offer no nutritional value, and will only provide you with a helping of sodium, calories and fat that your body does not need.
Is iced tea on your healthy food list?
In an effort to avoid sugar soft-drinks, many people will recommend iced tea, instead. However, most people often overlook the fact that many iced tea drinks have just as much sugar as most sodas.
Fruit-flavored iced teas and sweet tea, in general, are loaded with sugar and calories.
If you want a healthy food iced tea, make sure you are drinking the unsweetened variety.
Is dried fruit on your healthy food list?
Many people are quick to assume that dried fruit is healthy food. It is considered to be virtually the same thing as eating a whole fruit.
In reality, these snacks aren’t so bad, but what destroys their nutritional value is all the added sugar the manufacturer includes during production.
So, enjoy your raisins, just be mindful that you would be better off eating a bunch of grapes, instead.
Is water on your healthy food list?
Yes, even water can be considered unhealthy, that is, when you get the flavored variety.
Waters with added flavors and vitamins can reach calorie levels that are dangerously close to soft-drinks and juices. This defeats the purpose of drinking water all-together.
To stay on the safe and healthy food side, just have a slice of lemon with your water if you want some flavor.
Matthew Cenzon has been writing for numerous publications since 2003, covering topics ranging from health and nutrition to the electronic entertainment industry. He is currently working as a Content Specialist for ValueClick Brands, and Head Editor for SymptomFind.com.
Matthew is a college graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with degrees in English and Asian literature. His interest in health and nutrition started at a very early age from his involvement in youth sports all the way up to the collegiate level.
He is very fond of the outdoors and enjoys everything from rock climbing to mountain biking. Through his work with SymptomFind.com, he is able to share his passion and knowledge of nutrition and healthy living on a broad scale.