We all start eating healthy with the very best intentions, usually making a conscious effort to choose options that will nourish our bodies. But with all of the trends and information out there today, it can get confusing. Things we think are healthy aren't, and the foods we've been told to stay away from are actually really good for us. When you're planning a wedding, you most likely don't have time to weigh the merits and drawbacks of a certain foods or drinks. That's why we asked Anna Mitsios, who's not only a nutritionist, but also has a line of completely natural beauty products, to lay out common misconceptions on what's healthy versus what isn't. Here, her sage advice.
"They're often loaded with high sugar syrups to bind ingredients," Mitsios says. Instead, she suggests making your own muesli bars with organic dried fruit—that will add a natural sweetness and hold the ingredients together.
You may love this cold drink on a hot day, but the bottled varieties probably aren't doing you any favors. "It's usually filled with sweeteners, making it high glycemic and raising your blood sugar levels. Make your own iced tea and infuse it with fruit for natural flavor," she says.
"They're often highly processed and contain artificial flavors and sweeteners which can wreak havoc with our immune and digestive systems. You're better off deriving protein from natural food sources," Mitsios says. Try organic eggs—boiled eggs make an easy, on-the-go snack—fish, lean meat, and vegan options like quinoa and brown rice.
This is another one that contains high levels of sugar and artificial flavors. Instead, opt for full-fat Greek yogurt, which contains gut-promoting probiotics and satiating healthy fats.
Faux Meat Alternatives
Meat alternatives such as faux chicken and textured vegetarian protein are highly processed and can contain high levels of yeast, preservatives, and other unknown ingredients. Stick to real, organic meat, or, if you're a vegan or vegetarian, proteins like quinoa, lentils, and mung beans.
"They're great if you're buying the ones that include low-glycemic fruits and lots of greens," Mitsios says, "but avoid the bowls that contain dairy and high glycemic tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, and bananas."
"Pure green juices are a great cleansing and detoxifying aid," she says, "but stay away from fruit juice, as it provides a concentrated source of carbohydrates which most of us can do without."
Many people choose soy milk over dairy because of the hormones in dairy—plus, it's difficult to digest—but soy milk isn't much better, the pro explains. "It's highly processed and contains additives," she says. Soy can also be tough on thyroid and hormone functions. Mitsios recommends making your own homemade almond milk instead.
"Granola tends to contain a lot of dried fruit and honey which ramps up the sugar content," she says. "Make your own granola using oats—steel-cut are even better—along with nuts and seeds."
As long as you choose your sushi wisely, it's great (think: salmon avocado with brown rice). What's not so great is sushi that contain rich dressings and sauces, tempura, and processed meats.