Myths about healthy eating

January 9, 2008 6:12:12 PM PST
If you're trying eat better, you've probably been avoiding cheesecake and fries. Although this is a good start, there are many other foods that may seem "safe" when, in fact, they are actually very high in calories or fat. Don't be fooled; the following foods are actually not as good for you as you may have thought. 1. Frozen yogurt
While some brands are relatively low-calorie, others have even more calories than light ice cream. Thanks to added sugar, some premium brands pack up to 185 calories per half-cup. Make sure that no matter what kind of low-fat frozen dessert you choose, it has no more than 120 calories per half-cup.

2. Fat-free snacks
Most of these seemingly healthy snacks have almost no fiber and are easy to eat in huge quantities because they're not satisfying. You could end up consuming a lot more calories than if you just ate a reasonable portion of the high-fat food you were craving in the first place. Choose a healthier snack such as veggies and fat-free dip or buy fat-free snacks in small quantities.

3. Popcorn
Skip the movie popcorn, as the smallest child-size bag with butter packs up to 300 calories and 20 grams of fat. The microwave kind can be even worse; many brands have almost 400 calories and 26 fat grams per bag. Choose a reduced-fat microwave version, and season with garlic salt, chili powder or Tabasco sauce to add flavor.

4. Protein bars
These were designed for hard-core athletes, and although they're not bad for you, they can contain up to 300 calories and more protein than you need in an entire day. Instead, have a piece of whole-wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter (180 calories) or a fat-free yogurt and half a banana (220 calories).

5. Muffins
Most muffins are nothing but cake in disguise. Even bran muffins have up to 600 calories and 25 grams of fat. As for fat-free muffins, many of them contain added sugar to compensate for the lack of fat. Choose a muffin with less than five grams of fat and six grams of sugar, as well as about five grams of fiber. Or try a bowl of bran cereal with fat-free fruit-flavored yogurt, which will save you up to 400 calories and 24 grams of fat. The Houston YMCA is an advertiser in our 'Get Healthy Houston' program