Health Coach Corner – Veggie Imposters

Health Coach Corner by Maria Hicks

Have you been tempted to buy “healthy” processed foods?  You know… the “veggie potato chips” or the “chocolate bar infused with bits of fruit.”  Not every product that boasts “spinach” on the label is even remotely like a serving of the real thing.  Basic rule:  If it doesn’t look like a vegetable, it probably isn’t.

What some examples?

Sun-dried tomato wraps:  The tomatoes provide little more than coloring.  And watch out for sodium levels.  If you want vegetables, stuff your wrap with spinach, tomato, cucumbers, mushrooms and sprouts.  But, don’t count the wrap as a veggie.

Pizza:  In 2011, Congress ruled that pizza counts as a veggie in school lunches, since a slice has about 2 tbsp of tomato paste.  But, with all the crust (refined grains) and cheese… let’s not slice this up as a “veggie”

Veggie Chips:  Don’t be misled by photos on the bag.  Check to see if real veggies are near the top of the ingredient list.  They probably aren’t and since they’re dehydrated and not as filling as the real thing, you eat a lot more calories with veggie “chips” than veggie “sticks”

Spinach Pasta:  Manufacturers hope that spinach’s health halo will lead you to buy their pasta.  But read labels carefully before you do.  Put a product back if the nutrition facts panel doesn’t boast 25% of your vitamin A and 2 grams of fiber per serving

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1 reply
  1. Sandra Trumbo
    Sandra Trumbo says:

    Maria, I often wondered about “veggie” chips and toting Pizza as a “healthy” option because of the tomato sauce. Unless you put vegetables as the topping, it’s nothing but bread and cheese. I love your column “The Healthy Bite”. It’s so informative. Thank you for all you do :0)

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