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How to Separate Impostors from Real Deal Foods

By Sandy Schroeder

As you roll down the aisle at your favorite market, you are probably well aware of the added sugar in many flavored yogurts, or the overload of chemicals in many packaged foods, but the game goes on as you attempt to spot all of the imposters that can sidetrack a healthy diet.

Recently Women’s Health spotlighted a few key offenders.

Flavored instant oatmeal – Tempting apple cinnamon oatmeal is often loaded with sodium and sugar. Look for mixes that list “oats” as the first ingredient with less than 140 milligrams of sodium, and six grams of sugar. Or choose rolled or steel-cut oats and create your own, adding cinnamon and fruit slices.

Fried veggie chips – Whatever the star veggie, the chip is still fried with saturated and trans fats. Consider making your own. Look for veggie chip recipes and use zucchini, carrots or kale, slashing the fats, sodium and calories.

Low calorie frozen meals – You get a 300-calorie meal (at least) with few vegetables and whole grains, often loaded with sodium, that will probably leave you hungry later. Better choice: cook fresh vegetables with your favorite recipes and freeze as individual packets.

Reduced fat peanut butter – These impostors have the same calories as regular peanut butter and they are loaded with added sugars and preservatives that replace the “good” monounsaturated fats. Look for pure peanut butter with no extra ingredients.

Vegetable pastas – Nutritionists say the health benefits are marginal here. Better choice: Swap your spinach pasta for spaghetti squash or spiraled vegetables.

Real Deal Choices

As you weed out the impostors, there are lots of real choices to consider.

Black beans – Black bean tacos, soups and brownies come with 7.6 grams of protein per half-cup, plus lots of vitamins, nutrients and fiber.

Wild rice – Enjoy the nutty flavor as you collect 6.5 grams of protein per cup. Add cranberries and feta cheese to make a super side dish.

Chickpea hummus – Forget the heavy dips and savor the flavor in roasted red pepper hummus with six grams of protein in half-cup.

Spinach – When you cook spinach, you increase the protein to three grams per half-cup. Try it swirled into an omelet or featured in a spinach/cheese pie.

Avocado – Add slices to sandwiches and salads, or top your tostada with guacamole. You get two grams of protein, plus a healthy boost of monounsaturated fatty acids, making it a heart healthy choice.

Start with a list of your family’s favorite foods and look for real deal choices to replace the impostors that sabotage meals and undermine health.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic. in Madison, Wis.

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