You Are Making a Healthy Food Choice – or Are You?

| June 27, 2014 | 21 Comments

oatmealapplesaucemuffin-debYou grab a whole grain fruit muffin for breakfast on your way to the office, a salad at the drive thru for lunch while on the road on the weekend and pass out granola bars to the kids for an afternoon snack.  Sounds like you are making some great healthy choices. But wait. . .

When we look a little closer, it turns out that the muffin has the same calories and fat as a donut, that you might as well swap that dressing on your salad for a burger and the granola bar is no healthier for the kids than a chocolate bar!

Healthy eating is something many of us strive for but the truth is there are times where our efforts to make healthy choices actually end up being on the unhealthy side of healthy food!

Crazy right? Check out this list of healthy foods that are actually not the healthy choice.

Making the Healthy Food Choice

The dressing is key. Be a label reader and at restaurants always check the nutrient guide for the salad dressings offered for your favorite fast food salad.  Some have as much fat as a 1/4 pounder! Go for vinegar or yogurt based dressings with only 1gr fat per tbsp.

Compare: Chicken Ranch Salad at Drive thru – 31g FAT, 590 Calories, 25g Sugar, 1480g Sodium
AND –> 1/4lb burger at same Drive thru – 33g FAT, 590 Calories, 10g Sugar, 1240g Sodium

Peanut Butter
Peanut butter made with JUST peanuts is an excellent health food loaded with protein, but most peanut butter brands add icing sugar and hydrogenated oil! Sweeten a natural peanut butter sandwich with apple slices or bananas.

Compare: Creamy Peanut Butter – peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, fancy molasses, maltodextrin, icing sugar.        2tbsp  = 16g FAT, 3g Sugar, 8g Protein
AND –> Natural Peanut Butter – peanuts.   2tbsp – 16g FAT, 2g Sugar, 10g Protein

The next time you go for the Blueberry bran  muffin, have a look at the chain’s nutritional breakdown for the muffins and donuts.  You might be surprised to find our your healthy muffin has more fat than an apple fritter!

Compare: Blueberry Bran muffin – 13g FAT, 280 Calories, Fibre 4g, Sugar 24g
Homemade Oatmeal Applesauce Muffin – 3.7g FAT, 177 Calories, Fibre 4g, Sugar 15g (from fruit)
AND –> Apple Fritter donut – 8g FAT, 290 Calories, Fibre 2g, Sugar 15g
Chocolate Dip donut –  14g FAT, 270 Calories, Fibre 1g, Sugar 16g

Granola Bars

Quick snack made with whole grains, it must be healthy. Look for fat, calories and sugar content as many are filled with high fructose corn syrup and contain as much fat and sugar as a candy bar!

Compare: 28gr Chewy chocolate chip granola bar – 4gr FAT, 1gr Fibre, 9gr Sugar, 1gr Protein
Sweet & salty granola bar  – 9g FAT, 11g Sugar, 4g Protein
AND –>28gr  Snickers bar – 6g FAT, .5g Fibre, 13g Sugar, 2g Protein

For a quick snack with protein and fiber reach for a pear, cheese or your own mixture of almonds and dried apricots.  When you can, make your own baked goods and snacks, go for natural and check nutrition labels for fat, sodium and sugar content to ensure you are making a healthy choice.

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Category: Food, Nutrition

About the Author ()

Deb Lowther is a writer, runner, mom of 3 and wife of a very driven entrepreneurial husband in the health and nutrition field. When not running after the kids, Deb is running in the trails, climbing mountains, training for a triathlon, doing hot yoga and enjoying her evening glass of wine. She ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active together. After selling their first company in 2015, the Lowthers' launched Element Nutrition with Stuart focusing on creating nutritional products for the baby boomer generation with Boomer Nutrition and kids with IronKids Nutrition. Deb inspires healthy families through numerous articles in print and online, encouraging others to enjoy a healthy diet, staying active and not being afraid to flex a little muscle.

Comments (21)

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  1. JaimeeM says:

    I dont really like store bought muffins, too much sugar for my liking. Much rather prefer making my own!

  2. Laurie P says:

    Reading this certainly gives me something to think about. We’ve been trying to do more baking at home and avoid store bought stuff as well. Peanut butter is a tough one….but I do have the unsweetened kind in the cupboard 🙂

  3. Heidi C. says:

    Thank you for this information. Homemade is always best in my opinion!

  4. Rick F says:

    Amazing, isn’t it?

  5. Brenda A says:

    Agreed with the other comments: make it yourself! Knowing exactly what goes into your food by your own hands give a much different picture that buying a package of muffins or jar of peanut butter. Grinding your own Valentia peanuts (which are naturally a little sweeter) makes a wonderful spread.

  6. Victoria Ess says:

    Oh wow, a lot of those numbers were quite surprising and good to know.

  7. Julie Bolduc says:

    Yummy I love the idea of the peanut butter made with only peanut butter

  8. Deb says:

    I am loving the comments. I was surprised too when I started looking into different menu’s and nutrition guides!

  9. Lynda Cook says:

    It’s amazing how the foods you think are good for you, are not you really need to check the labels

  10. Wendy Jabkowski says:

    It’s crazy how pretty much every food has been proven to harm your body in some way.

  11. Karen D says:

    It is very frustrating when you feel like you are making a sacrifice in a drive thru by choosing the salad only to realize that the splurge item is equivalent in calories. Thanks for the reminder!

  12. Deb says:

    Thats is why i have started looking Karen! We drive 2hrs each way to ski in the winter and often stop for a snack – I’ve taken to reading the nutrition guides fast food restaurants offer. Some interesting stats! Although, worth it to remember you still get added benefit from all the veggies and greens in the salad that you don’t get with the burger : )

  13. Anne Taylor says:

    We are very vigilant in our purchasing of baked goods etc. If I can make them at home with healthier ingredients, I’ll do it!

  14. kathy downey says:

    Thank you for this information. Homemade is always best,seems there are so much added to store bought,and I love baking once fall starts

  15. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    comparisons do bring huge surprises don’t they? The companies always make a huge deal out of how something’s healthy when in actual fact you might as well eat a burger as there’s hardly a difference. At least these days they have to tell you what is in it, which is better than it used to be.

  16. KD says:

    Great comparisons! It is so easy to be misled when we are trying to eat healthfully, if we don’t check the nutritional information.

  17. kathy downey says:

    I am not a big lover of store bought muffins,too much fat and sugar

  18. kathy downey says:

    I dont really like store bought muffins

  19. kathy downey says:

    If you want good muffins make your own at least you know whats in them!

  20. micheline says:

    Trying to make more plant based home cooked meals, and almost cut out eating a fast food places.

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