On the surface, clearing out your kitchen in an effort to clean up your diet is easy. Toss out all the processed foods, the bags of cookies and chips, the white bread, the ice cream and you're all set. Mostly. There are also many foods in your kitchen that, at first glance, don't seem to be all that unhealthy. These common kitchen foods may be the reason that your weight loss is stalling or not progressing as quickly as you hoped!
Read the list, ditch the foods and try the healthier swaps instead!
1. Salad dressing
As a general rule, it is best to avoid all pre-made salad dressings. Most store bought brands are loaded with calories, sugar, and sodium with the low-fat varieties being the worst offenders of all, according to nutritionist Tori Holthaus, M.S., R.D., founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC. Besides, if you want to absorb all the nutrients found in your greens, you will also need to eat a little fat. A recent study found that people who ate salads with fat-free dressing, absorbed zero lycopene and beta-carotene, two antioxidants vital to your health and weight loss efforts.
Olive oil. One tablespoon of olive oil is a great source of unsaturated fatty acids without costing you a lot of calories.
2. Canned food
"Many canned foods aren't problematic from a caloric standpoint, but they are loaded with sodium, which is a huge concern for women trying to lose weight," says Holthaus. Sodium is often used in things like canned soup to keep it fresh and add flavour but it can cause water retention which will make you feel like you are gaining weight and not losing it. It is also important to remember that the lining on most cans contain bisphenol-A (BPA) which is a synthetic estrogen and has been linked to an increased risk of obesity.
Use fresh or frozen produce. If you cannot part with your canned goods, try to find a band that is BPA-free. Holthaus say you should always drain and rinse your veggies to remove the excess salt. If soup is what you're after, take your fresh produce, cook it and puree it with some of your favourite spices and just like that, you've got soup!
Whether your juice is a fruit juice or a 'healthy' green juice, it will spike your blood sugar. Even 100% fruit juices are little more than sugar and water. "The juicing process separates the fruit's juice from its fiber, so the sugar you do get makes your blood sugar spike," says Holthaus. Your body's insulin rushes sugar to your fat cells and a half hour later, you are left with a sugar crash and a craving for more sweets.
Whole fruit. When you eat fruit in its natural state, you get fiber which will slow down your sugar absorption and helps to keep you feeling full. If you are in love with your green juice, try making your own -- it is the only way to have complete control over the ingredients.
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4. Coffee creamer
You may think your little splash of creamer isn't doing much to trip you up but you'd be surprised. Coffee creamer can be one of the most concentrated sources of calories in your kitchen. We are talking anywhere from 20-50 calories per tablespoon! "It's easy to consume way more than that, especially if you're having more than one cup per day," says Holthaus. Full of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (as well as trans fats!), coffee creamers are a chemical-based diet disaster.
Milk. One percent dairy milk, unsweetened almond milk, or soy milk are all good options.
5. Processed lunch meat
Even if you are choosing lean meats like turkey, they are still highly processed and to be avoided. "Oftentimes processed deli meat is pumped full of chemicals our body doesn't know or recognize," says Holthaus. The sodium in these meats can lead to bloating and water retention but it is also worth noting that recent studies have linked processed meats to cardiovascular disease and premature death!
Fresh DYI cuts. Cook your own turkey, ham, or beef and slice it as thin or as thick as you desire. It doesn't have to be time consuming! Consider using your slow cooker. You can spice and cook the meat however you want -- we bet you'll never use cold cuts again!
This butter alternative may be low in fat but it is high in chemicals. The presence of partially hydrogenated oils is not good for weight loss. These particular oils are high in trans fats which can seriously impact not only your efforts to trim down but your overall health.
Use a natural fat source, even if it means you'll be eating a few more calories. It sounds counterintuitive but your health will benefit in the long run. If you use margarine as a spread, try swapping it out for organic, unsalted butter. If you are cooking with it, try using olive, coconut, hemp seed, grape seed, avocado and other oils, instead. Just remember that these oils are calorie dense so use them in small amounts.
If you are now starting to wonder what other hidden hazards are in your kitchen, we can help.
Our Nutrition Guide and 30 Day Meal Plan
will help you understand how to build balanced and healthy eating habits.
We'll take the guesswork out of cleaning up your diet. Each week you will be provided with a detailed shopping list so all you have to do is grab the ingredients and follow the recipes. Over 100 wholesome, delicious, exciting meals and snacks, plus a full guide you can follow every day for 30 days!
Learn More about the meal plan here