Based on what we hear on television and see online, eating healthy foods should be a no brainer. If they say they’re healthy, they must be right, right? Fruits and vegetables for the win!

Sorry, but not all “healthy options” are all that healthy. In fact, some of them could be doing you and your body more harm than good.

Let’s start with fruit. On the surface, they sound like the ideal food to complement your healthy eating plan, but unfortunately, they’re not. Bananas, for instance, are an innocent looking fruit, a delicious post or pre-workout treat, but they’re high in carbohydrates. Translation, they’re sugar-laden so not the best option when it comes to eating healthy.

Choose something in the berry family instead. They’re high in antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties, and have cancer-fighting properties. Eat them frozen or fresh. Avoid the canned options because what’s used to preserve them is sugar. Bad idea.

Moving onto the vegetable options. Here’s where things get even trickier. People love their potatoes, but potatoes are by far the worst vegetable to eat if you’re trying to lose weight or curb your sugar cravings. They are essentially giant balls of carbs that will sneak up on you. The same is true of corn. White or yellow, they’re not a great option.

Think leafy greens when it comes to vegetables. They’re high in fiber, easily accessible, inexpensive, and quite versatile. They can be thrown into a morning or post-workout smoothie, tossed with some delicious grilled chicken pieces, or wrapped around a lean protein for dinner. You name it, you can do it with leafy greens and they’re full of vitamins and minerals.

Avoid foods that claim to be healthy if they have more than five ingredients or you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce the ingredients. Oftentimes, whatever is used to preserve them or to meet their claim is the exact opposite of good for you.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that is white. Be it bread, pasta, potatoes, or rice, it should be avoided. Whole wheat isn’t the best option either. It’s better but not the absolute best, so eat it in moderation. Like other carbohydrates, it breaks down into sugar in the bloodstream and could contribute to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and a host of other diseases.

Watch what you drink. Avoid sodas, including diet beverages. Drink at least eight glasses of pure water or lemon-infused water per day. Skip the juice drinks and the sports drinks unless you’ve just completed a workout, and even then, there are sugar-free options that are better for you. Read labels. Do your homework. Know what you’re putting in your body before you do it.

You don’t have to follow the latest fad or buy the next big thing. Keeping it simple is all you need to do. Shop the outer perimeter of your favorite grocery store. Shop at farmer’s markets. Grow your own foods. Avoid anything processed. If it makes you feel sluggish or tired after you eat it, perhaps take it off your grocery list next time. It’s probably not good for you.

By: Samira Doyle