Healthy living is pretty trendy at the moment. As health becomes more of a hot topic, food swaps grow popular. It’s probably a familiar trend: 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. Enjoying delicious things with fewer negative consequences to our health is terrific. But sometimes, these alternatives aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
We’ve all lost sight of what delicious means in our quest to make healthy eating more appealing.
A lot of the time, these products should be awarded the false advertising gauntlet. For example, low-fat or vegan chocolate labels should read ‘flavourless, bitter bar’, while rice cakes should contain 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 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 not that great it’s probably not worth ruining meal times for. Eating is something to be enjoyed, after all.
‘Healthy’ alternatives to avoid
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 enjoy eating this bland disc of puffed rice. But ultimately, they don’t taste much, smell a bit weird and have no nutritional value.
Do you know what a better alternative to cookies is? Fruit and nut bars, which are tasty, contain protein and fibre and can be pretty easy to make. If you don’t want to make any, loads of branded options are available out there.
It seems like the healthy thing to do, right? Grab the low-fat option instead of the regular stuff; the TV always tells 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 doesn’t taste as good as the glorious full-fat version, which means you’re wasting food time on something you’re not even loving. You’re losing the second time because these products usually swap fat out for sugar, artificial sweeteners or extra carbs.
So, in conclusion: low fat doesn’t taste as good and isn’t better for you at all.
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. Buckwheat is rich in 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 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 that do a better job.
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 tough 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 plentiful. As are apple slices with peanut butter, fresh fruit with Greek yoghurt, or cookie dough Greek yoghurt – trust us!