Healthy Imposters

Lots of product manufacturers have capitalized on our busy lifestyles by marketing pre-made “healthy foods” such as fruit smoothies, protein shakes, green smoothies, mixed Greek yogurt, and salad dressings. Yes, these are very convenient since they are already made, but did you know that most of them contain UNhealthy additives like high fructose corn syrup, emulsifiers, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives? So much for healthy!

While it does take some planning, time, and effort on your part, it is easy (and much healthier) to make these healthy food items yourself. When you control the ingredients, you control what goes into your food and can avoid unnatural ingredients.

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Here are a few suggestions for how you can make your own healthy smoothies, shakes, and dressing and avoid these imposters. If you would like to watch a video of the recipes, click here: https://youtu.be/B_r-J0iQ9sA

Fruit and green smoothies, and protein shakes are very popular and very frequently pose as health food imposters at the grocery store. These are SO easy to make yourself, requiring either a blender or a smoothie maker (which you can get very reasonably priced models and not spend hundreds!) and your choice of berries, fruits, greens, and your favorite protein powder.  There are any number of combinations you can make, just depending upon your taste IMG_1342preferences.

Greek yogurt is another frequent imposter, especially those which have fruit in the bottom or a separate cup of other ingredients to mix in. These are very convenient, but many have preservatives and added sugars which make them not-so-healthy after all. Just pick your favorite brand of natural yogurt without any added ingredients, and then add your own choices: berries, nuts, granola, or seeds and you have your own healthier version of this popular imposter.

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing and marinade is another popular healthy option, unless you purchase a pre-made version with artificial colors, emulsifiers, and high fructose corn syrup in the mix.  My favorite simple recipe calls for only three ingredients: balsamic vinegar, local honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Save your empty balsamic vinegar bottles and you have your own decanter to mix in. Add equal parts of the three ingredients, shake well, and you have a healthy salad dressing or marinade which is perfect for chicken, fish, and lean cuts of red meat. No need to refrigerate, just store in a cool dark place and shake well when ready to use (it will separate upon standing). IMG_1343

With just a little time and planning, you can cut down on the number of artificial ingredients and added sugars in your nutrition plan. Will you try one of these healthy ideas this week?

~ Doneane