08 June 2018

Five 'healthy' foods that aren't so healthy. Surprising lunch break tips for healthcare workers

We are all aware of the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. Healthy eating is essential, as your organs and tissues require proper nutrition to function effectively. Poor nutrition will inevitably lead to health conditions, disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance at work.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates 

Next week, from June 11th, until June 15th, The British Nutritional Foundation Healthy Eating Week is happening all around the UK. The campaign exists to encourage and promote healthy eating and drinking; being active; food provenance and home cooking. When you’re working those irregular hours on shift, snacks are an essential to keep you going, but how good for you really are those ‘healthy’ snacks in your bag? We’ve investigated some of the more popular options…

Salad dressing

A salad is a great vehicle for getting more fruit and vegetables into your diet. But – did you know, a single serving of salad dressing is only two tablespoons and has anywhere from one hundred to two hundred calories? Forego the salad dressing and squeeze some fresh lemon or lime on your salad instead.


Fruit juice 

Fruit juice contains an equal quantity of sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink. While it contains some nutrients, fruit juice doesn’t contain the fibre found in raw fruit.

  • Coca Cola: 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons)
  • Apple juice: 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar (9.8 teaspoons)

That’s almost the same amount of sugar!


Cereal bars

Cereal bars are serial offenders - just look at the sugar content. Other ingredients that regularly feature in cereal bars are dried fruit, chocolate and salt. They are more like confectionary than a nutritious breakfast option. They certainly don’t deserve their ‘healthy’ reputation.




Just like fruit juice, smoothies are full of sugar. Intake should be limited to a combined total of 150ml per day, as smoothies are a source of 'free' sugars. The government recommends that free sugars make up no more than 5% of our daily calories.

Smoothie and fruit

Rice cakes

While they may be low in calories, rice cakes are a deceptive diet food. Look at the label, there is no protein, no fat, no fibre, and barely any vitamins or minerals. Worse still, many rice cakes now contain artificial flavouring or chocolate. In some cases, rice cakes can have a glycemic index rating as high as 91 (pure glucose has a rating of 100), the kind of carbohydrate that will send your blood sugar into a frenzy. 


We were just as surprised as you are! That said, so long as these snacks are not consumed in excess and are part of a controlled and balanced diet - you should be fine. 

Registration for Healthy Eating Week is open to all schools/nurseries, universities/colleges and workplaces and is a great way to show your commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of pupils, students and employees across the UK.

To register, simply click here and enter your details. 


British Heart Foundation 

The Telegraph