Pretty much every raw, plain nut has a health benefit to boast, but they are also high in fat, fibre and calories in comparison to other snacks, meaning that if you eat a whole sharesize bag of them on a regular basis, you're likely to a) gain weight and b) probs feel more than a little bit sick afterwards. Proper portion size depends on the nut, but an average reasonable serving is around a third of a cup. And don't forget to count that nut butter you've been eating by the spoonful too...
It may be less refined, but sugar is still sugar whichever way you serve it, and agave syrup might not be as good for you as you might have thought whilst drizzling it over your buckwheat pancakes. Agave was originally championed for being low in glucose, but it turns out that to balance this out, it's crazy high in fructose, which can interfere with a bunch of important functions from metabolism to insulin resistance. Agave is far sweeter than generic cane sugar, so you only need a tiny amount to feed your sweet tooth, but if you can bear to give it up altogether, you're better off with raw honey instead.
Smoothies and juices are often labeled as two or even three of your 5-a-day, but due to the motherlode of sugar in many of them, experts are now saying that this shouldn't be the case. It's far healthier to eat the whole fruit (or veggie) so that you benefit from all of its goodness and fibre and feel fuller for longer, but if you're a juice addict that just can't quit cold turkey, try to build your beverage on a base of greens and veggies, and add lower-sugar fruits like berries to make it not taste all gross and grassy.
What's that? Oh, just the sound of a million Instagrammer's hearts breaking as they find out that avo isn't the binge-worthy wonderfood they once thought. Yes, avocados offer good fats, vitamins and minerals in abundance, but one regular medium-size fruit also contains around 23g of fat, or 1/3 of your daily allowance, argh! One serving is estimated as just a teensy 1/5th of an avocado, so if you're used to topping your salad with the entire thing, it could be time to scale back.
Holy sugar, Batman! Dried fruit may last for ages, be easily portable and more to the point, taste gloriously close to candy, but there's a reason for that awesome sweetness, because it can also be comprised of up to 2/3 sugar! Raisins and dates are the worst offenders, with 59% and 66% respectively, whilst prunes, figs and apricots range between around 40%-50%. As with juices, it's better to eat fresh, whole fruit if possible, and limit dried fruit portions to just 30g at a time.
Fresh? Yes. Flavourful? Yes. Naturally high in acid which can give you acid reflux? Oh, er...yep, that too. Don't get us wrong, the recommended 80g serving of tomatoes is a great addition to any healthy meal plan, but too many toms can leave you with heartburn, and in some cases, digestive issues too, not fun. Bonus fact: tomatoes are one of the few salad ingredients that are better for you cooked than they are raw, so toss them into pasta sauce or grill them to serve with eggs rather than slicing them up and serving. Oh, and the acid thing also applies to foods like citrus fruit, so go easy on the oranges too.
powder It's not that protein powders are bad for you, it's just that if you're not following a pretty hardcore training regimen, you probably don't need them! If you're eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of lean meat or vegetarian equivalents like soy and eggs, and you're not lifting weights or doing other muscle building activities on a regular basis, it's likely that you're already hitting your protein quota anyway. In fact, too much protein can actually cause problems with your kidneys and liver, so it's important to do the maths and find out if you really need to reach for that tub before you add any powders into your daily diet.
Whether it's spooned onto a sandwich or served with crudites, hummus is a staple snack that contains lots of healthy protein and fibre. However, store-bought hummus is often blended with lots of oil, raising the calorie quota and making it less nutrition-friendly than you might expect. The other danger with hummus is portion control, one serving is two tablespoons, not the half-tub you can easily munch through with a packet of tortillas. Place your allowance in a bowl rather than eating from the container, and if you have time? Make your own!
Gluten-free, high in protein, there's a reason most of us now have a bag of quinoa stashed safely in the cupboard, but as always, sadly you can have too much of a good thing. Lots of people find it more filling than other counterparts like cous cous, but when a serving is just half a cup of the cooked grain, it's easy to overeat, and because quinoa is actually higher in calories than the same quantity of carbs like brown rice or wholewheat pasta, you might find yourself piling on the pounds because of it. This shouldn't put you off quinoa altogether, but if you don't already have a set of measuring cups, now would be the time to invest...