Here's why you should be wary of salad kits in a bag and other seemingly healthy items. Plus, one "junk food" that really isn't so bad after all.
Apple And Banana Chips
We knew fresh fruit trumps dried in almost every nutrition department -- but we were shocked to see just how big the difference is when it comes to <a href="http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/fruits/" target="_blank">the two most popular fruits in America: apples and bananas</a>. <a href="http://www.elizabethsomer.com/" target="_blank">Elizabeth Somer</a>, registered dietitian and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Your-Way-To-Happiness/dp/0373892071" target="_blank"><em>Eat Your Way to Happiness</em></a>, says these snacks -- which we'd considered only slightly less good for you than the real deal -- can be the caloric equivalent of a potato chip. Indeed, a raw apple has about 65 calories and 0.2 grams of fat, while some 1-ounce servings of the chips have 140 calories and 7 grams of fat (from canola or sunflower oil, and corn syrup). A raw banana, meanwhile, has about 90 calories and 0.3 grams of fat, versus 150 calories and 10 grams of fat in a serving of the crunchy version (many manufacturers deep fry the chips in coconut or sunflower oil so they crisp up).
Salads Kits In A Bag
Somer says bottled salad dressing is one of the top sources of fat in women's diets, and it turns out that a little pouch of the stuff -- even if it is surrounded by great big handfuls of fresh, crisp greens -- can be extremely high in calories and fat. For instance, 1 serving of a Caesar-salad kit -- which comes with shaved cheeses, roasted-garlic croutons and dressing -- can contain 180 calories and 14 grams of fat. You don't have to avoid the dressing entirely, but it would be wise to use it <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Health-and-Fat-Traps-on-Restaurant-Menus-How-to-Decode-a-Menu" target="_blank">sparingly</a>.
Bottled Iced Tea
Tea's benefits are well-known; <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Small-Health-Habits-That-Make-a-Big-Difference/4" target="_blank">green tea, in particular, has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke</a>. However, Somer says many of the iced teas for sale at supermarkets and in restaurants are basically sugar water, containing anywhere from 12 to 21 grams of sugar per serving. Plus, <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/iced-tea-hot-tea-and-antioxidants" target="_blank">research shows homemade iced tea retains more antioxidants than store-bought</a>.
We're never quite sure who the winner (or loser) should be in the Baked Breakfast Goods Olympics: muffins, bagels or croissants? But among the carb- and butter-laden competitors, a bran muffin appears to be a wise choice...right? Actually, Somer says, these healthful-seeming breakfast items can have up to 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. If you really want to order one alongside your latte, go for it -- but split it with a friend, since one muffin is often closer to the equivalent of 3 to 4 servings.
Chocolate Milk (Surprise!)
And now, for some good news: Somer says that when you're craving something sweet, low-fat chocolate milk can actually be a healthy alternative to a cookie or a handful of candy (<a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/What-to-Eat-Before-Exercising-Pre-Workout-Snacks/5" target="_blank">it's also an effective -- and tasty -- post-exercise treat</a>). Horizon now makes a DHA Omega-3-fortified version that has 150 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving.