5 'unhealthy' foods that are actually healthy
Are you confused about what you ‘should’ be eating?
Do you feel like every time you’ve finally got it all figured out, another health fad or diet no-no comes flying out of nowhere?
You’re not alone. I speak to so many women who are completely confused about what is a healthy diet - and it’s no wonder, really.
Every day, we’re bombarded with conflicting advice about what we ‘should’ be eating.
‘Fat makes you fat!’ ‘Carbs are the devil!’ ‘It doesn’t matter what your food sources are, as long as you hit your macros!’
Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to dive into a packet of chocolate biscuits.
There’s so much misinformation out there that even foods that are perfectly healthy for you are being demonised. But in avoiding these foods, you'’re actually missing out on many of the valuable nutrients that are key to a balanced diet.
Well, I say it’s time to welcome these foods back with open arms!
Read on for 5 so-called ‘unhealthy’ foods you should reconsider adding back into your diet.
5 ‘unhealthy’ foods that are actually healthy for you
Pasta gets a bad rep for being too high in carbs, but there’s plenty of research to suggest it can actually be good for you and help manage your weight.
Plus, it’s incredibly affordable and versatile — just add in a protein source and veggie-rich sauce and voila, you’ve got yourself one beautifully balanced meal.
However, not all pasta is created equal. Wholegrain pasta is typically higher in fibre, as well as rich in vitamins like manganese, selenium, copper and phosphorus. I also particularly love pasta made from legumes and pulses, which you can find in any major supermarket these days.
My trick with pasta? I see how many serves of veg I can add. This is what I call crowding. Crowding in more veggies to help you get to your 5+ a day. I normally aim for 2-3+ serves in a bowl of pasta by adding tomatoes, onion, shredded carrot, baby spinach etc.
Many people avoid cheese when trying to lose weight. But I’ve got good news for you: cheese isn't actually bad for you and you shouldn't feel guilty for eating it!
Cheese contains calcium (essential for healthy bones), protein and vitamins and minerals like zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin B2.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending you eat an entire wheel of Brie in one sitting (mmm brie…). But adding cheese to healthy foods makes them tastier, meaning you'll eat them more often.
Try adding feta to your salads, finishing a homemade soup with parmesan or stirring ricotta through a pasta in place of cream.
Due to the popularity of low-carb diets like keto, it seems to have become public enemy number one. But there’s no reason you have to cut bread out of your diet completely if you’re not allergic or intolerant to gluten.
In fact, like wholegrain pasta, bread is high in many nutrients and vitamins, as well as fibre to keep you full for longer. Whether it’s wholemeal toast with a smoosh of avocado and poached eggs for brekkie or a wholegrain sandwich with chicken and loads of veggies for lunch, bread can be a super convenient vessel for a healthy meal. The key here is moderation — eating bread once a day isn’t going to hurt you.
Rice often gets lumped in with bread and pasta categories. Unlike bread and pasta, though, rice is a plant-based food which is minimally processed and naturally gluten-free.
It also happens to be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, as it is high in fibre and contains B minerals and magnesium.
Other varieties of rice, such as brown, black and red rice, basmati and jasmine as well as other grains like millet, buckwheat and quinoa are all loaded with the healthy stuff and make the perfect base for a nutritious meal.
I always have SunRice SuperGrains in my pantry. They give you a variety of wholegrains - including rice – to help you make healthy food choices.
5. Peanut butter
Many people wrongfully label peanut butter as ‘naughty’. However, this isn’t the case. Our beloved PB can actually have its place in a healthy diet — and it’s an ingredient I enjoy often. Not only is it a source of protein, but it’s got lovely nutrients like with vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins.
I always go for the more natural, unprocessed varieties you can find in most supermarkets. Team it with sliced banana or apples or roll it into some bliss balls for a super satiating, delicious snack.
Disclaimer: A little heads up, I proudly work with SunRice. They’re an amazing company. I only work with companies who share my back to basics approach to healthy eating and whose products I use weekly in my own home.
Healthy recipes you might love:
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When you make your own muesli or granola, it's often a lot healthier because you know exactly what goes into it. Try my homemade toasted muesli (granola) recipe for a healthier breakfast cereal.
This soup is so filling and healthy. I'll meal prep this recipe ahead of a busy week. It's a great way to get through veggies in the fridge and feed the family a really nourishing meal for less.
Tomatoes are at their best during Spring and Summer and this simple 4-ingredient Tomato and Feta Salad is a winner, especially for BBQ season. Swap the boring same-same salad for this simply wonderful dish.
This quick and easy overnight oats is wonderful for busy mornings. You can meal prep them on the weekend ahead of a busy week.
I'm so excited about this recipe. You should know up front that I can’t bake very well. I’m quite impatient, particularly when chocolate is involved. But even I could make this delicious Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe easily. It's so good!!!
Chocolate and Hazelnuts... two flavours that are meant for each other! This healthier version of a choc-hazelnut spread has only 4 ingredients, is super easy to make and did I mention it tastes amazing too?
Introducing Cauliflower Steaks - A healthier alternative to the BBQ grill. You've probably eaten cauliflower as rice, mashed, boiled and baked - but have you ever tried grilling it on the BBQ?
This is my favourite baked sweet potato recipe. It's a classic. I keep coming back to it because it's really that good. The sweet potatoes caramelises. It's the perfect recipe for batch cooking or meal prep.
With only 2-ingredients, this healthy recipe will be ready in less than 3 minutes. I have a major sweet tooth and this healthy strawberry sorbet (with its' sweet/sour taste) really hits the spot.
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