Picture this: you walk into the supermarket, grocery list in hand, ready to get some healthy foods for you and your family. You have decided that it’s time to eat better and get back into shape, so finding good-for-you foods is vital for this healthier lifestyle. But the supermarket is a big, daunting place if you don’t know the difference between foods that pretend to be good for you versus the ones that are actually good for you.
Read on for my top tips at selecting the healthiest foods and avoiding the imposter “diet culprits.”
Talk about one of the worst foods to eat for the most important meal of the day. Breakfast cereals, even the ones that claim to be “low-fat” or “whole grain”, are packed full of sugars and refined carbs, which are detrimental to your health and weight loss efforts. Starting your day off with one of these deceiving culprits will cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. After a few hours, your blood sugar will crash, causing you to feel hungry and eat something else high in refined carbs.
Also, be sure to watch out for an additive called Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT). This chemical is in almost every cereal and it is not proven safe. It is linked to cancer and is an endocrine disruptor! And, we don’t want to mess with disrupting our hormones!
Try this instead. Oatmeal with chopped walnuts.
Oatmeal is definitely considered to be a powerhouse breakfast. Why? Oats contain a high fiber content and are known for their ability to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. As we know, keeping our cholesterol levels low significantly reduces our risk of developing heart disease, cardiovascular disease and having a stroke.
Walnuts make the perfect topping because they are loaded with health benefits. In fact, walnuts have higher quality antioxidants as well as a mix of more healthful antioxidants than any other nut. Not only that, but walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which aids in reducing depression, ADHD, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
And if that’s not enough, incorporating walnuts into your diet can reduce your risk of breast cancer, diabetes and help you deal with stress.
Low-fat and Fat-free Yogurt
Regular, fruit-on-the-bottom, probiotic-infused…the options are endless when it comes to choosing your yogurt. But start by turning your yogurt container around and reading the label. Some “fruit or vanilla” yogurts contain as much sugar as a can of soda! Would you have a Coke for breakfast?
And don’t be fooled by the low-fat and fat-free varieties, because those are actually even worse for you. When food manufacturers remove the fat from foods, they taste terrible. So in order to compensate for lack of fat, they add things like sugar and artificial sweeteners to make them taste good again.
Try this instead. Greek Yogurt with Chia Seeds.
Greek yogurt makes an excellent snack because it’s dense in nutrients and often contains double the protein of regular yogurt, which helps you feel fuller for longer. Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics which aid in keeping your immune system and digestive system healthy. It’s also a great way to naturally add more vitamin B12 to your diet, which is essential for energy and healthy brain function. It’s best to buy plain Greek yogurt, but if you’re craving some added sweetness, try a drizzle of honey or some fresh berries! And remember, true unsweetened “Greek Yogurt” should have only a few ingredients. Milk or cream and live active cultures. Beware of anything else.
Chia seeds, despite their tiny size, are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Not only are they ridiculously high in quality protein and fiber, but they also contain large amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which are vital to healthy bones and teeth. They taste pretty bland, so they can easily be incorporated into your everyday diet.
Light Salad Dressings
Salads are a go-to option for the health-conscious, but using store-bought dressings can ruin your chances of any nutritional benefit. Light salad dressings may appear to be healthy when you’re scanning the aisles of the grocery store, but when your flip one of those bottles over you’ll see a mile-long ingredient list of preservatives, sodium, sugar and other additives that you probably can’t pronounce.
If that’s not bad enough, light salad dressings may also prohibit you from getting any nutrition from the rest of your salad. Many of the nutrients found in vegetables are fat-soluble, meaning you must consume them with some form of fat in order to reap the healthy reward. If you use a light or fat-free dressing, you are unable to absorb the nutrients of the vegetables in your salad.
Try this instead. Homemade dressings.
I highly recommend making your own salad dressings from home. Not only are they healthier, but they are super easy and delicious too! Here are some basic recipes to get you started:
- ● Basic Balsamic – Balsamic Vinegar + EV Olive Oil + Salt + Pepper
- ● Raspberry Balsamic – Same as above + ¼ cup smashed fresh raspberries
- ● Honey Mustard – Apple Cider Vinegar + Mustard + Honey + EV Olive Oil + Salt + Pepper
- ● Thai Sesame – Lime Juice + Toasted Sesame Oil + Soy Sauce + Sweet Chili Sauce
So next time you are at the supermarket, I encourage you to Be Strong, Be Active, Be Mindful and Be in the Moment as you select the items on your list. Remember these tips and don’t be fooled by those so-called “healthy” products. It will make all the difference in leading a healthy, happy life.
What are some misleading “low-fat” food culprits in your diet? Please share in a comment below!