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Produce Pretenders

When is produce not Mother Nature's finest? When it is packaged with added sugar, fat, and saturated fat. While you should be consuming at least 4 ½ cups of fruits and veggies daily, some of your choices may actually be Produce Pretenders (produce that is pretending to be healthy and lean) rather than the real deal.

V8 Splash

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Orange Juice

The Real Deal : With only “10% juice” in each serving (less than one ounce of juice per cup), there is only a “splash” of juice with each gulp. Since the second ingredient on the Splash ingredient label is high fructose corn syrup (code word for sugar), a serving will provide somewhere in the ballpark of three teaspoons of added sugar. Tip : Stick with Mother Nature's finest, 100% OJ or even better, a whole orange, which has everything the orange juice has, plus the fiber.
Bonus Tip:
Watch out for other juice pretenders with the words “cocktail” and “drink” on the label as these can also have added sugar.

Veggie Crips

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Crips Veggies

The Real Deal: A quick glance at the ingredient label on the package will shed a crisp light about what is really in these chips: potato flour, potato starch, vegetable oil, tomato, salt, and spinach powder . The only main ingredient missing is the veggies. At 140 calories for 21 chips, very similar to potato chips, your waist would be better served with a handful of raw veggies dip in a low calorie dressing. Tip : For even a leaner snack and double dose of Mother Nature's finest, dip your veggies in salsa, for an added a kick.

Banana Chips

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Banana

The Real Deal : Don't go bananas over these chips as a measly ¼ cup has 150 calories (the equivalent to 1 ½ bananas), 7 grams of fat, and 6 grams of heart-unhealthy saturated fat, thanks to the coconut oil added. Tip : Buy a bunch of saturated fat-free bananas, the way Mother Nature intended, and tote one along daily for a boost of potassium and fiber.

Yogurt Covered Raisins

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Raisins in Yogurt

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The Real Deal : A petite handful (1/4 cup) of these sugar-coated raisins provides very little yogurt (and hence, calcium) but 5 grams of fat, with 4 grams coming from artery- clogging saturated fat, thanks to the palm kernel oil added. Tip : Add a tablespoon or two of raisins to your yogurt for a calcium-rich snack.

Fresh Express Chicken Ceasar Salad

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Salad with Chicken & Light Ceasar Dressing

The Real Deal : While this adorable, takeout meal salad epitomizes packaged convenience, note the container is supposed to feed 2.5 people. If the entire meal is consumed by one person (which typically occurs), the nutrient profile would be 2.5 times what is listed on the label for a grand total of 375 calories and approximately 28 grams of fat and 8 grams of saturated fat. While this isn't huge, it is likely more than you thought if you didn't do the math. Tip : To cut the calories, fat, and cost ($4.99 per container), top a tossed salad with leftover chicken and use a light Caesar salad dressing.

Now that you know what the Produce Pretenders our, see Joan's tips on produce that is Ripe for the Picking