If you’ve ever stood dazed in the dairy aisle choosing between full-fat, half-fat and skim, you’ll know that food can be confusing! Everyone wants to be healthy, but with so many conflicting messages, it’s often hard to tell diet fact from diet fiction.
Is it sugar that’s the devil, or fat? Or is calorie counting the answer? To help us all make smarter food choices, we chatted to Nutritionist Aloysa Hourigan of Nutrition Australia Queensland. Here’s what she had to say about some common dietary dilemmas.
Greek Yogurt or Low-Fat Yogurt
Winner: Greek Yogurt
According to Aloysa, both provide good amounts of protein and calcium. But the low fat option will often include added sugar. She adds “full fat yogurt is higher in calories, but will satisfy hunger better.”
Milkshake or Soda
The dairy drink is the clear winner here. “Both have added sugars, and lots of calories, but the milkshake will provide protein and calcium as well. The soft drink is an ’empty’ calorie food (that means no valuable nutrients).”
SkinnyMint Hint: If you do crave that sweet flavor, try our energising Morning Boost tea!
Fruit Salad or (Fresh) Fruit Juice
Winner: Fruit salad.
A fruit salad is better because it tends to include a variety of different fruits, says Aloysa. You’ll therefore be consuming a range of nutrients and more fiber. And because you have to chew to eat it, you’ll feel more satisfied.
Full-Fat Milk or Almond Milk
Winner: Full-Fat Milk.
According to Aloysa, “Full fat milk is better option nutritionally, unless you have an allergy to cows’ milk protein, or you prefer a vegan lifestyle. Compared to almond milk, full fat milk is much higher in protein and other nutrients. Almond milk will only provide similar calcium to full fat milk if it is calcium-fortified.”
Salad Wrap or Salad Sandwich
Winner: It’s a tie.
There’s no difference, according to Aloysa. You get a gold star for choosing either, as both lunch options have high nutritional value. Just make sure you choose a wholegrain wrap or bread for extra fiber and minerals.
Thick-Cut Chips or French Fries
Winner: Thick-Cut Chips.
A serve of thick-cut chips will have less fat than a serve of thinner fries. However, neither is a good option, says Aloysa. The choice should also take into account the type of oil used and how much salt is added.
Ice Cream or Frozen Yoghurt
Winner: It depends…
If you’re gulping fro-yo thinking it’s a guilt-free ice cream substitute, think again. Our expert says that, as a general rule, there’s not much difference, and it definitely pays to be label smart. Check the nutritional panel for sugar and saturated fat content, and calories per serve. And, as with all special treats, portion control is essential!
Hawaiian Pizza or Beef Burger
Winner: Beef burger.
“It depends on portion size for both, and what other ingredients are on the beef burger,” says Aloysa. “A burger with salad and no bacon or cheese is probably the healthier option, but it depends on the quality of mince and how the patties and other ingredients are cooked.”
When it comes to pizza, a thinner crust is lower in calories, and Hawaiian pizza has less saturated fat than those loaded with processed meats.
Aloysa adds, “the number of calories will depend on how many pieces of pizza you eat or how large the burger is!”
Bacon & Eggs on Wholemeal Toast or Acai Bowl
Winner: Acai Bowl.
Acai bowls probably win out, as they have better food variety across a few food groups. However, Aloysa warns they can still be high in calories and sugar, depending on the ingredients they’re topped with.
“Bacon and eggs on wholemeal does offer both protein and wholegrain carbs, but it’s more limited in the variety of nutrients and lacks a fruit or vegetable component, so there’s not a lot of fiber,” she adds.
A final word from Aloysa…
“The healthiness of a snack is dependent on many different aspects of nutrition. Things to consider include: total calorie (energy) content, amount of total fat, saturated fat, sugars (especially added sugars), sodium (salt), fiber, and the total nutrient density.
And if you want to be super healthy? Here are seven reasons to skip those Friday night drinks!