Many people tend to look to social media for inspiration for healthy eats. But just because your favorite bloggers post picturesque, trendy foods doesn’t mean those foods are actually good for you.
The pretty purple-hued smoothie bowls you see on your feed are touted as healthy because they’re made with açaí, a fruit from South America that’s packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants similar to those found in blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. But it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients included, says Alyssa Rimmer, RD. Although the berry is naturally low in sugar, it’s easy to go overboard with toppings. “Additions like granola, chocolate chips, bananas, dates, fruit juices, maple syrup and agave” can rack up the sugar and calories, she notes.
Rimmer suggests making a healthy version with a base of frozen açaí, one low-sugar topping (like berries), one topping of your choice (like banana or granola) and filling the rest with healthy fats from things like coconut or nut butter.
Whether it’s turmeric lattes, coconut matcha or mushroom tea, there seems to be a trendy new way to hydrate daily. Although superfood additives have some health benefits — turmeric, for example, contains curcumin, which both gives the beverage its golden hue and has potent anti-inflammatory properties — you also have to think about what else is going into your warm beverage.
“Coffee shops often use barista-type milks containing added sugar and use sweeteners in addition,” says Rimmer. If possible, Rimmer suggests requesting unsweetened plant-based milk (like almond) and no added sweetener. That way, you can add a small amount of your preferred sweetener (like honey or maple syrup) on your own so you can control the amount.
There is nothing more aesthetically pleasing than a loaded piece of avocado toast. The bright green base provides a perfect foundation for other delicious add-ons, like eggs, tomatoes, smoked salmon and more, provided you keep portion sizes in mind.
Be aware of how much avocado you’re filling up on, says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD. One serving contains about 80 calories and 8 grams of fat. That means consuming the entire avocado, plus the bread and toppings, could clock in well over 500 calories.
“As with any Instagram-inspired trend, it’s best to listen to your body,” says Rumsey. “If you like avocado toast, it can be fun to play around with toppings that sound tasty to you and can provide additional nutrition, while still keeping in touch with your body’s feelings of hunger and fullness.” Rumsey suggests topping a smart serving of avocado with some protein like eggs or nuts to make the toast a more filling, well-rounded meal.
These days, you can’t scroll through your feed for more than 30 seconds without seeing someone drinking celery juice. It’s been tagged more than 100,000 times on Instagram and has celebrity fans including Jenna Dewan and Kim Kardashian touting it as a cure-all for everything from digestion issues to skin breakouts.
“Sure, celery is a vegetable and contains nutrients that have a variety of benefits in our body, but the claims about its magical properties have never been studied or proven,” notes Rumsey. What’s more, when you juice the vegetable, it changes the nutritional profile. Although a cup of celery juice is still loaded with water, it loses the fiber celery is known for, which typically helps you to feel fuller for longer. While it probably won’t harm you, it won’t necessarily do much good either, she says.