Healthy Choices: Which One To Choose?

Which one is healthier?

Allison Knott, MS, RD, LDN, and President of the Chattanooga Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, sets the record straight on the healthy choice between two similar foods.

Regular Yogurt vs. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is higher in protein, and its creamy texture and tangy flavor make this yogurt the winner. All yogurts can be a part of a healthy diet, but remember that the added sugar in some varieties can be equivalent to that of a candy bar. While yogurt naturally contains sugar from lactose, the added fruit flavorings, toppings, and sauces can turn this healthy, go-to snack into a sugar-laden nightmare. Opt instead for a plain variety and top with your choice of fruits, nuts, unsweetened coconut, or seeds.


Pumpkin Pie vs. Pecan Pie

Pumpkin pie wins this battle. Not only is pumpkin pie typically lower in calories and sugar (skip the whip and stick to one slice), but it also has the added benefit of all the nutrients pumpkin has to offer, such as vitamin A and fiber. The mild sweetness of the pumpkin means less sugar is added, and spices are used for flavor without adding fat or calories. Pecan pie’s star ingredient, pecans, are also packed with nutrients like fiber and vitamin E, but this holiday treat can hold up to 25 grams of sugar in a single slice. That’s similar to the sugar found in a can of soda.

pecan and pumpkin pie

Guacamole vs. Salsa

When it comes to calories, salsa wins this fight, but when talking nutrients, the two are neck-in-neck. Guacamole is made from heart-healthy avocados, which are high in monounsaturated fat. Salsa, with its base of tomatoes, is also full of nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, and the cancer-fighting compound lycopene. The catch with either is what it’s paired with and in what quantity. You’ll likely not go overboard on calories with salsa (1/2 cup contains approximately 40 calories), and its high water and fiber content will help to fill you up. Guacamole is a different story, however. It’s high in heart-healthy fats and fiber, but it’s also higher in calories (1/2 cup contains closer to 240 calories). Stick to smaller portions of each and instead of dipping traditional chips, try sliced veggies or baked chips.

guac and salsa

Bisque vs. Creamy Soups

Bisque, by definition, is traditionally made from shellfish and cream. It’s a pureed soup that’s thick and hearty; however, it can be deceivingly high in saturated fat. This makes for a tie when choosing between bisque or creamy soups. Unless vegetables are pureed to make the “cream” in the soup, traditional bisques and creamy soups are similar in their saturated fat and calorie content. Instead, opt for broth-based soups as an alternative to cream-based soups or bisques, and be sure to choose one with plenty of vegetables and/or whole grains for added nutritious components that will fill you up.

100% Whole Wheat vs. Multigrain

Multigrain may sound better (multi of anything can’t be bad, right?), but 100% whole wheat is the winner on this one. Multigrain bread can be deceiving since the bread contains many types of grains, but it may or may not contain whole grains. A whole grain is one with the entire grain kernel intact – the bran, germ, and the endosperm. Whole grains are credited with playing a role in the prevention of many chronic diseases. They are high in fiber and other nutrients such as B vitamins, and they are a source of protein. When choosing bread, be sure to check the ingredient list. The word “whole” should be listed in the first ingredient. Think: whole wheat, whole grain, whole rye, whole oats, etc. The bottom line: stick to whole grains in all bread, and be sure to check the ingredient list before purchasing.

Picture of Allison Knott, MS, RD, LDN

Allison Knott, MS, RD, LDN

President, Chattanooga Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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