We have the best intentions when we choose healthy foods to nosh on. But if you eat them the wrong way, you could be missing out on valuable nutrients or getting more calories than you bargained for. Here are six good-for-you foods commonly eaten in not-so-healthy ways.
#1 SWEET POTATOES
High in vitamin A and bursting with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the sweet potato is one tuber you shouldn't pass up. Sweet potato fries are definitely not the healthiest way to enjoy this orange-colored veggie, since frying adds tons of fat and calories. Boiling is a good method, as long as you don't mash the sweet potatoes with tons of butter and brown sugar. Instead, try steaming diced chunks or baking the potato whole.
If you have a craving for fries, here's a recipe for oven-baked spiced sweet potato fries. Choose organic potatoes over conventional ones so you can also enjoy the benefits of the fiber-rich skin.
#2 PEANUT BUTTER
A great source of quick protein and one of the best pre-workout snacks, peanut butter should be simply made by crushing peanuts, but if you're not mindful about which jar you choose, it might also contain added sugar, salt, and hydrogenated oils. Avoid the unnecessary fats and sugars by choosing natural peanut butter or making your own.
Holy protein and fiber! Beans are inexpensive and low in fat, so they're a great addition to a healthy diet. The problem is that most beans come in cans lined with BPA. Exposure to this chemical has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and early puberty. Canned beans are also high in sodium, so soaking and boiling your own beans is your best bet. If you're short on time, choose Eden or Westbrae Natural BPA-free canned beans.
#4 DRIED FRUIT
When you need a quick nibble or a healthy way to satisfy a sugar craving, dried fruit is a healthy option. Well, that is if it's not covered in sugar. Make sure to choose dried fruits made without added sugars. Sometimes you can tell just by looking at the fruit, but if you're not sure, check the package. Of course, on a lazy Sunday, you can also make your own — try these recipes for dried mango and dried cantaloupe.
An apple makes the perfect snack because it's sweet, juicy, and full of fiber to satiate your hunger cravings. Most of the vitamins and minerals are found in the peel, such as vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, folate, and iron, so if you peel the skin, you're throwing out all that nutrition. Be sure to buy organic apples and crunch on this fruit with the red, yellow, or green peel intact.
Many people can't stomach eating raw broccoli and would much rather munch on these florets after they're cooked. Boiling your broccoli may be traditional, but it isn't the healthiest cooking method, as it zaps away the nutritional value. When enjoying this green veggie, lightly steam or sauté it for only a few minutes, just to slightly soften the stems and produce a bright green hue.