Five Unhealthy “Health” Foods

Not everyone is on a quest to lose weight, but many probably want to “eat better.” Eating better could mean any number of things—eating more real foods and less processed ones, choosing local, and preparing even one more meal than you typically used to at home.

As you do your weekly shopping, trying to find that sweet spot of healthy and convenient can be overwhelming. And while you have the best of intentions, many packaged foods sound healthier than they actually are. Here are five common foods that often disguise themselves in the healthy category, plus a nutritional tip to help you stay on track.

Flavored Yogurt

Calcium is a crucial nutrient for women. It’s even more important for women who run. But if you’ve been to the grocery store recently, you’ve probably noticed there’s almost an entire wall devoted to yogurt. While some fruit blends contain no fruit at all, others have a puree on the bottom that rocks the sugar scale.

Low-Fat Peanut Butter

Nut butters are good for runners, especially runners who are out there pushing it. But your nut butter should have one ingredient (maybe two): nuts (and possibly salt). To have any flavor, manufactures put all sorts of horrible additives, including sugar, to compensate for the lack of fat. 

Bran Muffins

Muffins are always dangerous, but the word bran sitting in front of it somehow convinces people otherwise. Bran, after all, is high in fiber, minimally processed, keeps the digestive tract in order, and more. Though the bran is likely never to blame in the muffin, the high amount of sugar and canola oil is. In fact, the nutrition fact panel of a muffin (even a bran muffin) can be 400 to 500 calories, 40+ grams of sugar.


Oats, fat, dried fruit, nuts. It’s all delicious. But with the tastiness typically comes a lot of calories all wrapped up in a little package. One-half cup of granola easily clocks in at more than 200 calories. So, while a half cup pre-run might be just what the doctor ordered, always make sure to keep your portions in check.

Pro Tip: Keep a ¼-cup measuring tool in your box of granola.

Pre-Made Smoothies

While making smoothies at home is a fantastic post-workout snack or breakfast, you can easily fall into a sugar bomb, leaving you with a bowl of Frosted Flakes as the better option. Opt for grab-and-go smoothies only if you can control ingredients or read nutrition labels. Look to make sure only whole foods, such as fruits and greens, are listed, and stick to about or under 300 calories, less if it’s a snack.

Pro Tip: Make a batch of smoothie one night and portion it out for three grab-and-go breakfasts in the a.m.

Retrieved from: Kim McDevitt (