I’m not referring to cakes and cookies, I’m talking about foods that may not be obviously unhealthy, as well as the more insidious foods that seem like they’d be good for weight loss but are in fact incredibly bad for you. Here are a few foods
that may be messing up your healthy diet.
- Processed foods – boxed, frozen, or packaged meals are probably not a good choice. Look out for hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours, and preservatives; a good rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is you probably don’t want to put it in your body.
- Low-fat foods – replacing the fat in products with sugar, sodium, preservatives or other unsavoury ingredients makes low-fat products just as unhealthy. Also, your body needs good fats and there are plenty of foods like avocados or nuts that may be naturally high in fat, but still healthier than a “low-fat” alternative. Rather than trusting in “low-fat” labels, just avoid saturated and trans fats, and stick to monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
- Diet soda – Just because it has the word “diet” in the name, does not mean this is a healthy choice. Soda in general is bad for you, and although diet soda is calorie free and slightly lower in sugar than regular soda, it has aspartame which is linked to all sorts of nasty side effects. Drink natural juice instead, still high in sugar but it’s natural sugars. OR, and I cannot stress this enough, drink water, drink water, drink water.
- Fruit drinks – but MK, you just said… NO. “Fruit drinks” and “fruit juice” are entirely different beasts. Fruit drinks are pumped full of sugar, preservatives, and additives, and are basically no better for you than soda.
5. Canned foods – generally when foods are canned you’re going to find a whack-load of preservatives. If you’re buying canned fuits or vegatbles, make sure the ingredients are just the food and water – no added stuff.
6. Microwave dinners – quick, easy, and altogether unhealthy, microwave dinners are full of sugar, preservatives, sodium, and flavours. Not only will a home-cooked meal taste better, it will generally be less expensive than a microwave meal. Try cooking large meals ahead of time and freezing them, for times when you know you’ll be in a rush.
7. Nut mixes – nuts are a superb source or protein, healthy fats, and fibre, but nut mixes are often carmalized, roasted, salted, or otherwise unhealth-ified. Make your own nut mixes by buying organic raw nuts and mixing them together.
8. Quick breakfast items – highly processed and full of sugar, pop tarts, waffles, and toaster strudels are just a few of the speedy breakfast products that can interfere with your health routine. There are so many great healthy breakfast options out there, and a smoothie, oatmeal, or scrambled eggs will take about the same amount of time as it will to toast that pop tart.
9. Easy-to-make foods – there are plenty of healthy meals that are easy to make, but what “easy-to-make foods” is referring to are the “just add water” type of meals. Any vegetables in a pre-packaged meal will certainly have lost any nutritional value through the drying and packaging process – again, fresh made meals are always the way to go.
10. Granola bars – granola bars sound like a healthy alternative to a candy bar, but in reality they are usually just as full of sugar and calories. I love having grab and go snacks, and granola bars fit that bill really well, luckily you can very easily make your own granola bars at home, and cut out all that extra junk you’d find in the store-bought variety.
These are pretty simple and common diet mistakes to make. Knowledge is power, so the more you know about the food you are putting in your body the better you’ll get at determining what is good for your health. Make a habit of checking the ingredients on any foods you buy, going fresh instead of frozen or canned, and plan ahead for those quick grab and go times in your life.