Contributed by: Dustin Gonzales, M.S., NASM-CPT

1. Fruit Juice. Ahhhhh, a nice, big refreshing glass of orange juice. It’s filled with vitamin C and plenty of nutrition, right? Sadly, once juice has been removed from its source (i.e., the whole fruit) it removes one of the fruit’s most important qualities…the fiber. Worse yet, a lot of juice you’ll see isn’t even made with real fruit to begin with; many are just sugar, water, and some added chemicals to make them taste fruity.

2. Salad Dressing. When you want to eat healthier, there’s nothing better than a big beautiful salad! Filled with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and all the goodness colorful vegetables provide…a perfect meal to improve your health. Then you slather on the salad dressing. Unfortunately, if you reached for a store-bought version of salad dressing, you likely are drowning your perfect salad with a bunch of low-quality vegetable oils as well as a long list of preservatives, additives, sodium, and of course, SUGAR.

3. Breakfast Cereals. “Part of a healthy, nutritious way to start the day” is the message we’ve heard for years about breakfast cereals. Quick, convenient, and often, junk is more like it. Most breakfast cereals are promoted as whole grain (some boldly proclaiming that they’re “heart healthy”), low fat, and fortified with vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, breakfast cereals tend to be made up of loads of refined grains, added sugars, and artificial preservatives. Be extra cautious when selecting any cereal; read the labels and look for the hidden junk.

4. Trail Mix. I have to admit, I hate putting this one on the list. My love affair with trail mix started at the same time as my love affair with football. I have very fond memories of munching on a handful of nuts, dried fruit, and M&Ms®. Sadly, most trail mixes are only pretending to be health foods as they’re loaded with excess salt, sugar, and calories as well as preservatives. It turns out M&M’s are not part of a healthy food group; darnit!

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