Regardless of the season, we should all be making a conscious effort to eating healthier. With so many delicious food choices out there, it can be difficult figuring out which foods to avoid when trying to eat healthy. The key to eating healthier is choosing foods that have the most nutritional value with the least amount of fat, calories, added preservatives, and most of all not processed.
Here is a list of 10 foods that you should avoid today if you want to start eating your way to better health.
1. Sugary Foods
Sugar is delicious but it can also be extremely dangerous for your health. It’s loaded with calories, it turns into fat after it metabolizes in the liver, and it’s addictive. As a result, this will put you at high risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is made from corn syrup, which is made from the starch of the corn and it contains high levels of sugar. You will be surprised how many foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup. From soda, energy drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurt, and salad dressings to name a few. And since we already talked about what happens when you consume high levels of sugar this is definitely something you should not want to ingest.
3. Processed Meats
Processed meat is any meat that has been salted, smoked, cured, dried and canned for preservation or to enhance the flavor. This includes hot dogs, sausages, pepperoni, ham, bacon, and canned meats. Most processed meats contain nitrate which is a preservative that is used to cure meat, The International Agency for the Research of Cancer has labeled nitrate as a probable cause for cancer.
Alternative: Choose canned tuna or salmon but if you prefer meat check out Al Fresco. Their products are made without chemicals, food additives or refined ingredients and are minimally processed. There are no artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives, additives, fillers or by-products in these products. Read more on their fag page.
4. Fried Foods
Who doesn’t love fried food? Unfortunately, fried foods are loaded with unwanted calories from the oil fat the food sucks up. Eating an excessive amount of fried foods can put you at risk for obesity, heart disease, and other health risks.
Alternative: There are a couple of things you can do. You can change the type of oil you use to cook your food. Healthier oil alternatives are coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. Also, instead of deep frying, you can air or oven fry. With air frying, you will need an air fryer which works by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism. Or you can oven fry.
5. Fast Food
Speaking of fried foods, fast food is a big no-no when eating healthy. Most fast food meals are loaded with sodium and unwanted calories, they also cooked in hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats. Doctors consider trans fat the worst kind of fat because it raises your LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) which is your bad cholesterol and lowers your HDL (High-density lipoprotein) which is your good cholesterol. As a result, too much consumption of trans fat via fast food can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.
Alternative: While home-cooked meals are always the better alternative I know that’s not always the cause. So if you’re going to have fast food stick to healthier menu options such as fish sandwiches, veggie burgers, and salads.
Soda is the worst beverage you can drink. You already know this. It’s loaded with sugar, which will put you at risk for diabetes. In addition, it contains properties that will wear down your tooth enamel, if it contains phosphoric acid it can strip your bones of its calcium, it will dehydrate you (which is why you’re still thirsty after you drink it), it’s high in calories, puts you at risk for heart disease and a host of other health problems.
Alternative: Plain water, coconut water, flavored sparkling water or unsweetened tea.
7. Cereal & Granola Bars
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. But because a lot of us live our lives on the go we usually grab something on our way out the door, which might end up being a granola or cereal bar because it’s quick and healthy. Or is it? Although they’re labeled healthy not all cereal and granola bars actually are. If you’re not mindful of the labeling you could be grabbing something that’s loaded with sugar and unwanted calories. This could put you at risk for throwing your diet off track leading to even more weight gain.
Potato chips are loaded with salt to give them their taste and this is where they go wrong for your body. Putting too much salt in your body can cause you to have a number of negative health issues such as high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Alternative: You can still love your chips but choose baked or sweet potato or corn chips. I found a great list of healthy chip options that will satisfy your chip craving.
9. Artificial Cheese
There are so many ways that we consume cheese. It can be spreadable, sliced or in string form. But sadly all cheese isn’t good cheese. Some packages say that it’s “made with real milk” but the truth is by the time it’s processed it becomes loaded with sodium, preservatives, and artificial food dyes among other artificial ingredients. None of that is good for your body.
Alternative: Here’s a list of non-dairy cheese options.
10. White Bread
White bread is made from refined grains which are highly processed to make the flour white and as a result, all of the nutrients are stripped away. If you want to indulge in your love of bread go with whole wheat bread instead and be sure that the ingredient list has whole wheat flour and not enriched flour.
Alternative: Replace white bread with any one of these other healthier bread options. Additionally, if you’re looking some a spread try Betsy’s Best. I reviewed it last year and it was great. It’s become a staple in our home.
Do you recommend any foods to avoid when trying to eat healthy? Do you struggle with it? Share with me in the comments below.
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