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8 foods that are not part of a balanced diet

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approx. 3 Minutes

To live a long and healthy life, it is important to eat a balanced diet. This is the mentality we grow up with and maintain throughout our adult years. Many think about what kind of foods are the healthiest to eat and what foods would help us live the long and healthy life we want. Below is a list of 8 foods that will surprise you when you learn the truth behind these "healthy" items.

Multigrain / Wheat Bread

While multigrain bread may seem healthy and your parents may be proud to replace white bread with a better choice, unfortunately many are made with refined grains that use bleaching chemicals. Instead of making a decision based on the color of the bread, check the label. Avoid those that say the first flour ingredient is refined (bleached or unbleached enriched flour), as this means it is not made with whole grains.


Many people like to go to smoothie chains because it is convenient and refreshing, especially on a hot sunny day. Because it's a smoothie, many automatically assume it's healthy. Although they add real fruits, these fruits are filled with sugar and are high in calories. For example, bananas, mangoes and pineapples are common fruits in smoothies, but these have the highest sugar content. Try smoothies with raspberries or blackberries instead. You can also make smoothies at home to know exactly what goes into them. Be creative, because not all smoothies need fruit!

Dried fruit

Have you ever thought that dried fruit tastes better than fresh fruit? There might be a reason why. When you buy dried fruit at the grocery store, they probably have added sugar and sulfur dioxide, which explains why they taste so good. This simple snack can still be a healthy option, just read the label, and if there is an ingredient other than fruit, leave it out!


Pretzels and other baked snacks are low in protein, fiber, fat, and vitamins and minerals, so it's easy to overeat because you're unsatisfied and still hungry. Stick to the recommended serving size or try a handful of nuts instead if you're looking for something salty. Another option is to dip carrots or celery in hummus to get that crunchy snack you're craving.

Salad dressings

Lettuce is the kind of food that people eat just to be healthy, not because they actually like it. Drowning your salad in dressing defeats the purpose of eating healthy, as many dressings are full of sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial chemicals and trans fats. Try making your own dressing by using simple ingredients like balsamic vinegar or olive oil and adding pepper. It's that easy!

Gluten-free foods

Just because the label says "gluten-free" doesn't mean it's healthy. If you don't need to eat foods that are gluten-free, then you shouldn't bother buying those items. Typically, fat is used to replace the gluten in foods, so you'll pay more for less healthy foods. Stick to foods that are naturally gluten-free, like fruits and vegetables.

Energy bars

Energy bars are a quick and easy snack to provide energy for the rest of the day. Some bars contain more than 350 calories. So be careful when choosing this snack and read the nutrition label for healthy weight management. To get the energy you need, avoid bars filled with high fructose corn syrup and added sugars. There are plenty of recipes you can find online and make at home! Most have less than 5 ingredients, so they can easily be prepared in minutes.

Yogurt Covered Snacks

Yogurt can make any bland and boring snack tastier (yogurt-covered raisins and almonds are a must). However, the coating on this seemingly healthy snack contains sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, milk powder and yogurt powder. Because of these ingredients, these snacks no longer have the healthy nutritional value that yogurt intentionally has. Save these yogurt-covered snacks for an occasional sweet treat. If you want a healthy snack every day, try Greek yogurt and mix it with fresh fruit like raspberries or blueberries.

Maintain a balanced diet

Always be aware of what you are consuming, as it will lead you to eating healthier and maintaining a balanced diet. Although some of these "healthy" foods may be shocking, it is important to keep in mind that moderation contributes to a balanced diet. Focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods with no added sugar, and remember to check the label. If you do all this, you'll be on your way to a long and healthy life.

More information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure that the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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