If you had to make a life choice, would you rather have a mouth full of banana or nuts?
After the traditional holiday season food binge, everyone is looking to start the New Year with a bunch of promises to themselves about ways that their health will turn around over the next 12 months.
Whether you have decided that calories, carbs or chocolate are the enemy, as you stare longingly at a cupboard full of things designed to give you oral pleasure and lashings of guilt, you know that things have to change. So what will you need to give up, or swap out?
Sit 10 dietary experts at a table and ask that question and expect to hear 10 different responses.
It’s hard to get it right. Of course, if you want to lose weight any rational doctor will tell you that you need to take in less calories than you burn. So a spoonful of apple cider vinegar and a quick 105 kilometre run every morning and you’ll be fine. Or not.
You still gotta eat right? But did you know that the ‘healthy’ options are actually dreadful for you? Yay. More good news.
Here are 5 yummy things that seem like they are on your side but you might want to reconsider Prawn crackers. These yummy crunchy Asian snacking staples seem like they would be a lot kinder to your body than, say, potato chips or salted peanuts, but in fact these starch based, deep fried yummies pack an astounding 14 grams of fat per handful. That plus the 200 calories you are chowing down means that you would be better off woofing down an extra plate of fried rice during your main meal to try and keep the tummy rumbles at bay
Tofu, crunchy or fried style. Tofu is a great alternative to meat for people who are wary of filling their diets with animal based products, but the problem is that not all bean curd is created equal. Deep fried chunks of Tofu are melt in the mouth delicious, but the words ‘deep fried’ give us a clue as to how much we should eat. Natural tofu is soft and silky and low in calories and fat, crunchy, crispy tofu has all that goodness and a whole lot more Banana chips. Is nothing sacred? One would think that a new healthy you means an increase of fruit….part of the magnificent 5 a day…..would be a great improvement. And it will. If only you don’t start imagining that the chip form of any kind of fruit is the same as the real deal. Banana chips are deep fried to make them crunchy. An ounce of them…a little over a handful…contains 150 calories and 10 grams of fat. A REAL banana has only 105 calories, a whole lot of vitamins and minerals and less than 0.3 grams of fat
Muffins are seen as a much healthier option than other baked goods due to their reputation as a breakfast alternative to things like pancakes or sugary cereals, whereas most muffins contain as much sugar as a donut and the same amount of white flour and added sweetness of a cup cake. A bran muffin, good for your bowels, might have the same amount of butter as a chocolate croissant. In order to ensure that the muffin you eat is actually servicing your body properly, check to see if it is made with whole wheat flour and naturally sweet real fruit or nuts.
Roasted nuts. Speaking of nuts, who doesn’t like their roasted and salty…or even a little bit sweet? Hickory flavoured, covered in honey, or perhaps sprinkled with a bit of spicy wasabi powder, nothing is nicer than nibbling nuts as a way to pass the time and beat of hunger pangs until the main event. Raw nuts (which sound much less delicious) are full of excellent nutrition. Unfortunately as soon as the nuts are made warm and coated in anything, you wind up getting more than you bargained for. An ounce of roasted nuts….enough to fit in your hand….contains 24 grams of fat. That is a lot. Of course, some of it is good fat, but if you are watching your intake, the 200 or so calories PLUS the oil is a high price to pay for that moment on the lips.
Keeping yourself healthy is a long term commitment to yourself, but you are worth the effort. It takes some vigilance and education, but it can be done, you just have to work out whether you know how to make the right decisions and if you are not sure, start doing some research online, and try to be realistic. You might have to make changes, but make sure they are the ones you will stick to. Otherwise we will have to have this conversation again next year.