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Healthy (and Not-So-Healthy) Foods That Fool

Go ahead, get a little nutty.

We are questioned all the time about the healthiest this or the best that.  Women in particular are looking for smart, convenient options to feed themselves and their kids. And, sure, we all know carrot sticks and hummus can be a smart, healthy snack, but there are other options that may come as a surprise...and others that you'd think would have a big red X over them, but don't.

Nuts.  They're tricky because they are high in fat and calories compared to other munch-worthy foods. To make sure you don't get fooled, watch your quantity. Two preliminary behavioral nutrition studies from Eastern Illinois University found that you may be able fool yourself into feeling full by watching what you eat—literally. In one experiment, empty pistachio shells may have helped curb calories by acting as a “visual cue” of how many the subjects had eaten. Subjects in this study who left pistachio shells on their desk reduced their calorie consumption by 18 percent, compared to those who routinely removed shells throughout the day. You might look like a bit of a hoarder at your desk, but whatever works, right? Either way, we still recommend clearing it all off before heading home.

Guacamole. Like nuts, this treat from avocados is high in fat, but a super healthy one that's good for your bod.  It’s easy to DIY: all you need is some avocado, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime juice. But if the thought intimidates you, Wholly Guacamole makes theirs out of nothing but pure ingredients.  Try it out as a dip for veggies, or as a sandwich topper to use in place of mayo.

Frozen Meals. These can be healthy? Yep. In an ideal world, we’d all have beautifully balanced meals on the table each night like Mrs. Cleaver.  But it’s 2013 and that's not always realistic.  So when you are faced with choosing a frozen meal options, look for one that's not loaded with preservatives and sodium, and has a small ingredient list. LYFE Kitchen has a new line of tasty meals, and Amy's Kitchen and Kashi have quality options. Again, this isn't us giving you permission to pop one of these in the microwave every week, but are they good to have on hand in a pinch? For sure.

Fast Food. We've told you it's possible to do drive-thru the right way, and we'll say it again, in case you need a gentle reminder. The key is making the best decisions with what’s available.  Subway does a good job of making that easy with the variety of menu items you’re offered, particularly when compared to many other burger or fried chicken joints. I prefer the oven roasted chicken and add spinach, tomato and olive oil.  I get the protein I’m looking for, yet it’s not fried like foods you’d find at most other quick-service restaurants.

Related: Get more nutrition and women’s health advice from Chris and Kara Mohr.

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