Brian Oakes, a nurse practitioner in Samaritan’s Cardiology Department, sheds some light on why the following popular items aren’t as nutritious as you think:
- Spinach wraps and pastas: Don’t be fooled. The amount of spinach in a wrap or pasta likely won’t fulfill one daily serving of vegetables. Boost your vitamin and mineral intake and munch on a whole grain wrap or pasta that’s packed with spinach leaves.
- Veggie patties: Typically a healthier alternative to a meat patty, it’s important to pay attention to key ingredients, since they often include fillers rather than actual vegetables. Opt to make your own veggie patty or scan the ingredient list to make sure vegetables are listed first.
- Couscous: Commonly mistaken as a whole grain, this popular dish is more like tiny pasta, which is a refined grain. Look for whole grain couscous or shift gears and try quinoa.
- Agave nectar (agave syrup): Often packaged with health food claims, this trendy sugar alternative is not all it’s cracked up to be. While regular syrup contains excessive amounts of fructose and high fructose corn syrup (50 to 55 percent respectively), agave is far worse (upwards to 70 to 90 percent). If sweetener is needed, use a smidge of sugar instead.