Lifestyle

There’s lots of chatter about healthy eating. Sometimes it’s nonsense.

Here are a few ‘healthy alternatives’ you may as well skip

Healthy living is pretty trendy at the moment. As health becomes more of a hot topic, food swaps grow in popularity. It’s probably a trend you’re familiar with: use almond milk instead of full-fat dairy milk; eat Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream.

For the most part, this isn’t a bad thing. Being able to enjoy delicious things with fewer negative consequences to our health is wonderful. But sometimes these alternatives aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

It seems that in our quest to make healthy eating more appealing, we’ve all lost sight of what delicious really means. We’ve also forgotten what cheese really tastes like.

A lot of the time these products should be awarded the false advertising gauntlet. Labels for low-fat or vegan chocolate should actually read ‘flavourless, bitter bar’, while rice cakes should come with a cardboard warning.

It’s almost as though the food-makers have tried to make these things so unappealing, that we stop craving snacks.

Now, there are actually tonnes of really delicious substitutes, which you will find scattered around OMQ’s Nutrition zone. But here are some of the worst, in our opinion. Things that taste so yucky, it’s not worth ruining meal-times for. Eating is something to be enjoyed, after all.

Terrible food swaps

Rice cakes for cookies

We’ve all done it. We’ve all had a pack of rice cakes on our desks for emergency snacking – we may have even convinced ourselves that we actually enjoy eating this bland disc of puffed rice. But ultimately, they don’t taste of much, smell a bit weird and have no nutritional value.

Do you know what’s a better alternative to cookies? Fruit and nut bars, which are actually quite nice, contain protein and fibre and can be pretty easy to make. If you don’t want to make any, there are loads of branded options available out there.

Low fat…anything
It seems like the healthy thing to do, right? Grab the low-fat option instead of the regular stuff, the TV is always telling you it’s the best way to eat your way to skinny. But the truth is, you’re losing twice.

You’re losing once because it just doesn’t taste as a good as the glorious full-fat version, which means you’re wasting food time on something you’re not even loving; and you’re losing the second time because these products are normally swapping fat out for sugar, artificial sweeteners or extra carbs.

So in conclusion: low fat doesn’t taste as good and isn’t actually better for you at all.

Buckwheat pasta

You might be trying to avoid traditional pasta for various health reasons and think that buckwheat could be the way to go.

Consider this a warning: don’t bother. Sure, buckwheat is rich in the mineral manganese and more protein per serving than any other grain (except oats). It also contains thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. But it tastes horrible and the consistency of buckwheat pasta is almost gloopy, making it really quite unpleasant.

Conclusion: yes, it’s healthier; but it tastes horrible and won’t hit the pasta craving spot. There are loads of other pasta alternatives out there that do a better job.

Dried fruit is delicious, but is incredibly high in sugar and very moreish.

Dried fruit

If you’re craving something sweet, dried fruit isn’t going to hit the spot. Yes, fruit is brilliant – eat more fruit! – but the packaged, compressed kind tends to have tonnes of added sugar. It’s also really hard to stop at a small serving, and if you eat an entire bag you could be looking at a whopping 1,000 calories.

If you’re looking for something healthy and yummy, baked apples are great. As are apple slices with peanut butter, fresh fruit with Greek yoghurt, or cookie dough Greek yoghurt – trust us!