Some food is healthier than others – that’s just a simple fact. If you go to McDonald’s and get a meal from there, it will be unhealthy compared to a simple meal of chicken and rice. Most people are aware of the ‘healthy’ foods in society, and you’re also aware of what is considered ‘unhealthy.’ However, they are still somehow making healthy food unhealthy.
Nevertheless, an interesting concept is that all food can be unhealthy. This might sound strange to some of you, but it’s the truth. In fact, many of you are probably guilty of doing things that are turning healthy meals into unhealthy ones. Or, at the very least, the meals are less healthy than they could be.
How is this possible? What turns healthy food unhealthy? Well, there are various things that people do, and you’ll find them all listed down below. Now, it’s your mission to look at these things and make sure you stop doing them right away!
Adding Too Much Fat/Oil
This is a problem that spans across a whole spectrum of foods. The two that are currently in mind are any foods cooked in a frying pan and salads. When you fry food in oil, it will take on extra calories and fat. This isn’t always a bad thing, and you can keep the oil to a minimum. The problem is when you fry something in loads of oil, turning a potentially healthy dish into one that’s overly fatty and calorific. For example, if you have a chicken breast that’s drenched in oil, it suddenly isn’t healthy anymore!
For salads, the biggest mistake people make is they add too much dressing to them. A bowl of vegetables is always going to be healthy, right? Wrong. If you cover it in oil and mayonnaise or other fatty dressings, the calorie content rises. In fact, you can get some salads that contain more calories than a lot of fast food meals. There was even a fitness influencer who produced a recipe book a few years ago, and one of their salads had more calories and fat in it than a KFC rice box meal!
Adding Too Much Salt
Similarly, if you add too much salt to a dish, it will become unhealthy. Your body needs sodium to help with various processes, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard with the salt. Adding a sprinkling to your food helps to bring out the flavor, but that’s where you should leave things. The worst thing you can do is add more and more salt to something that’s already salted.
For instance, if you cook a plate of pasta with tomato sauce, you have a healthy meal. However, if you pile the sauce full of salt, overly salt the pasta in the water, and then add more salt when the dish is finished, you’ve gone overboard! Too much salt is linked to heart problems and health issues, so use it sparingly.
Eating Too Much Of Something
This is definitely the thing that 99.9% of people are guilty of. When you hear that a food is healthy, your brain instantly thinks that you should eat lots of it. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing. For instance, five portions of fruit and veg a day will never be bad for you. The issue stems from when you literally start overloading your plate and meals with something that seems healthy, but will quickly become unhealthy if consumed excessively.
The best culprit of this is the humble avocado. It’s a fruit that has risen in popularity over the years, largely thanks to the incredible health benefits it provides. Avocados are a fantastic source of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. What’s not to love about them? They’re versatile as well, so you can eat them with just about anything. However, if you look at the avocado nutrition facts, you’ll notice that they contain an outrageous amount of calories. Well, outrageous is a slight exaggeration – an average avocado will have just over 200 calories in it.
So, if you start eating two or three avocados a day, that’s 600 calories you’ve already consumed. To make matters worse, you don’t realize that you’re eating a lot, largely because avocados are quite light and easy to eat. Plus, the health benefits make you think you’re eating something very healthy. In reality, eating too many avocados can make you gain weight if you’re not careful. The same goes for any healthy food out there – be sure you keep an eye on the portion sizes so you aren’t overeating and consuming more calories than you need.
You’re Blending It Up
In all honesty, this mainly refers to fruit and veg. There’s a tendency for people to blend or blitz fruit, usually to make smoothies or juices. These drinks seem healthy, but they’re not as healthy as you think. You see, when fruit and veg get blitzed up, something happens to the structure of the food. Firstly, the insoluble fibre is broken down, so you lose this beneficial nutrient. Already, the fruit/veg is less healthy than it was, but blending also releases the sugars. Therefore, you suddenly have a drink that’s packed full of sugar, which is pretty bad for you.
In fact, it’s so sugary that experts suggest you have 150ml maximum of fruit juice per day! So, if you keep blending up your fruit and veg to make smoothies or other drinks, stop thinking that they’re still healthy. Of course, there are worse things to drink, but if you drink more than 150ml per day, you’re asking for a whole host of sugar-related problems.
You’re Buying Ready-Made Meals
Every grocery store will have a section full of ready-made meals that you can either pop in the oven or microwave. They’re convenient, saving you a good hour or so of cooking every night. After all, why spend hours slaving over a lasagne in the kitchen when you can buy one and heat it up in minutes? Nowadays, you can even find ‘healthy’ ready meals that are full of typically good ingredients and foods. They can have lots of veg, protein, and be rather balanced on the calories side of things.
Unfortunately, ready-made meals do have one common problem – they tend to be packed full of preservatives and salt. A lot of things need to be added to these meals to ensure that the food stays fresh inside them for a good few days. Think about it, how many times have you been in a store and seen a meal that has a Use By date in a week’s time. If you made that exact meal at home, it wouldn’t last for a week in the fridge! These products have things added to them to help them keep for longer, but that makes them unhealthier. So, if you keep buying these meals, you’re potentially eating something that could be healthy, but isn’t.
You’re Eating Healthy Food With Unhealthy Food
A bit of a struggle to wrap your head around this, but it basically means that you are adding lots of unhealthy things to meals involving healthy foods. For example, you might have a nice little salad, but you’ve paired it with two giant hamburgers. The burgers kind of render the salad as pointless as the meal itself becomes unhealthy.
In a similar fashion, people often have things like fruit with other stuff that isn’t healthy. The best example of this is a bowl of yogurt and fruit. Now, before you go crazy, yogurt isn’t always unhealthy. Natural yogurt without any added flavorings is perfectly healthy and will be a great meal. However, the mistake people make is they buy yogurts that are packed full of extra sugar, making them super calorific and unhealthy. Then, you add fruit to the yogurt, assuming that it makes your meal healthy. You need to get out of the habit of adding unhealthy things to healthy foods!
You’re Using An Unhealthier Cooking Method
Finally, and this brings us back around to the starting point, you need to think about your cooking method. The very first point touched upon frying things in oil, which should always be one of your least preferred cooking techniques. Of course, when you make sauces and lots of dishes, you need to fry stuff.
However, it might be worth poaching chicken or baking it in the oven instead. Different cooking methods will retain more nutrients in a food substance, making it healthier. If you fry your food or cook it at outrageously high temperatures, it will become less nutritious. This doesn’t always mean it’s unhealthy, but it isn’t as healthy as it could be.
How many of these things are you guilty of doing? There will definitely be at least one or two points on this list that you’ve done at some point in your life. Well, now you can learn from past mistakes and stop making healthy food unhealthy! If you want to keep your meals as healthy as possible, avoid falling victim to any of the mistakes mentioned above.