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Dietitian Rachel Beller Uncovers the Bad in 'Healthful' Meals

Dietitian Uncovers the Bad in Seemingly Healthy Meals

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Dietitian Uncovers the Bad in Seemingly Healthy Meals

Eating healthy isn't easy, even for people who think they're doing the right thing.

Rachel Beller, a registered dietitian who has helped "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts, appeared on "GMA" today to share the secrets to eating better.

Beller, the author of the new book, "Eat to Lose, Eat to Win," said whether you're thinking about losing weight or just improving your overall health, you may not be eating as lean and healthy as you think you are.

Scroll down to see the fiber rules, tips and recipes

Beller's philosophy is that people should keep it simple.  She said there are many food that people think are healthy because they appear that way - either because of the color or because they're sold in a certain store.

She showed a bran muffin and vanilla soy latte. At first glance, it's a healthy enough breakfast, right?

According to Beller, the bran muffin doesn't have as much bran as you think. Sure, the muffin looks brown, but that probably comes from added molasses and caramel coloring. A check of the label showed the first ingredient was white flour. That means it's basically white bread that's been colored to look brown, she said. She added that the word "soy" sounds healthy, but the drink has a lot of sugar.

Another diet pitfall is automatic grazing. Beller said some people don't realize exactly what they're eating. For example, a busy mother may eat some pita chips with hummus (sounds healthy), then taste some mac and cheese while she's cooking.

Those bites amount to about half a turkey sandwich's worth of calories, Beller said.

Beller performed a food "autopsy" on two complete meals, breaking down the ingredients and re-making the meals to be healthier.

Food Autopsies

Breakfast Food Autopsy

Honey Bran Muffin: 440 calories and the carb equivalent of 4 1Ž2 slices white bread. The muffin is brown thanks to the added molasses, caramel color and just a touch of wheat bran. It contains high Fructose Corn Syrup and a laundry list of other ingredients. The sugar is the equivalent of eight lollipops and the fat equals 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

Vanilla Soy Latte (20 oz): 300 calories, and sugar equivalent of 12 lollipops

Grand Total = 740 cal, 4g fiber, or equal to 4 1Ž2 slices white bread, 20 lollipops and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

The Solution

Berry-Fiber Insured Parfait

6 oz Greek yogurt

1 Fiber cake or 1/2 cup high fiber cereal

1 cup sliced strawberries or any berries

Cinnamon - potential benefits - weight loss, and cholesterol lowering

Total: 230 cal, 15.5g fiber

Here are three styles of the yogurt parfait:

1. On the go: red solo cup with Greek yogurt, high fiber cereal and berries.

2. Cup or bowl with Greek yogurt, crumbled high fiber muffin and berries (topped with cinnamon).

3. Greek yogurt layers with high fiber cereal, sliced bananas and/or berries topped with cinnamon.

Beverage solution: 1 cup tea boosted with cinnamon.

Lunch Food Autopsy

Sushi: Cali roll plus spicy tuna roll = 640 cal and the carb equivalent of 6 slices of white bread. Plus 1 to 2 tablespoons of mayo, small amount of tuna, seaweed, avocado, carrots, imitation crab meat. Barely any vegetables in sight!

The Solution

Not all sushi is bad. The secret lies in how you order. First, request brown rice instead of white. Although it contains the same calories and carbs, it's more nutrient rich. With cut rolls, ask for "easy on the rice"-or, better yet, get hand rolls and hold the rice. You can request this even at the sushi counter at the grocery store. Then add a side salad. That's the difference between a "light dinner" and a "right dinner."

Total: 340 cal. This is a 300-calorie savings giving you more protein, antioxidants and satisfaction.

Try one of these:

2 "Hold the rice" hand rolls

8 Piece light on the rice Tuna Cut Roll (brown rice)

Side of mixed greens topped with a sprinkle of shelled edamame, side of ponzu dressing, side of white pickled ginger, a dollop of wasabi


Rule #1: You need 30 to 35g of fiber per day.

Think of it as your daily dose of detox that keeps you full, energized and your blood sugars leveled. It's also amazing in lowering your odds of getting breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Skinny bonus points: emerging research suggests that every gram of fiber eaten, removes 7 calories, so eating 35 grams a day could knock about 245 calories off your daily intake.

Rule #2: Reality Check: Vegging out ain't enough.

You could eat salad and veggies until you literally turn green and you'd barely get 15g before midnight

Frustrating Fiber Stats (in grams)

4 c spinach = 4.8

3 tomatoes = 4.5

2 c mushrooms = 2

1 c string beans = 3.2

1Ž2 c cauliflower = 1.4

1 c red cabbage = 2.8

2 cup lettuce = 1.8

3 apricots = 1.8

40 grapes = 1.8

2 grapefruits halves = 3.2

1 c strawberries = 3

1 banana = 2.8

1/2 c blueberries = 1.7

5 damson plums = .9

Total = 34.8g

Rule #3: Action! Start Everyday with 10 to 15g of fiber. It's your fiber insurance strategy. 

Since it's bikini season, you want to keep calories below 350. There are gluten free options (most gluten free dieters fall way short on their fiber).

Fiber-rich Recipes

Tasty Mixology

1 cup high fiber cereal

6 oz 0% Greek yogurt

1/4 cup berries

Total: 285 cal, 11g fiber

Double Boosted Cinnamon-Scented Quinoa *GF

3/4 cup cooked quinoa or steel cut oatmeal

1 tablespoon white chia seeds

1/2 cup sliced peaches or berries

Optional: pour 1 cup coconut/ almond milk on top

Total: 281 cal, 11.5g fiber

A.M. Body Fuel Smoothie *GF

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tablespoons vanilla-flavored organic hemp protein powder

1 tablespoon white chia seeds

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 frozen banana

Total: 295 cal, 16g fiber

Sweetness On-the-Go

2 sprouted flourless raisin toasts

2 tablespoons goat cheese spread

1 cup blackberries

*GF option: High Fiber GF Bread

Total: 267 cal, 14g fiber

 Recipes, food autopsies and solutions courtesy of "Eat to Lose, Eat to Win," courtesy William Morrow.

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