Food is such a heavy topic. For some, it's their entire life as they dedicate only putting real, whole foods into their bodies. For others, food is looked at as food and they will grab something and go. While there is nothing wrong with either of those, a balance in everything, including your diet, is crucial. However, if your diet consists of only junk food, then your body is running on fuel that won't take you very far.
It's a new year, so that means you can start fresh! If you are not one to worry about the food you put in your mouth, you don't have to start. However, making a conscious effort to replace certain foods with others makes a huge difference in energy levels, your immune system and just your overall health. Processed foods, added sugars, chemicals and ingredients you cannot pronounce will soon catch up to you. So if you're looking to make a change, start by cutting out some of these foods that nutritionists say you should never eat.
While many brands are starting to remove trans fats from their products, margarine is still so highly processed. Containing vegetable oils such as soybean and palm oils, this does nothing for people who think margarine is better than butter because it has 'less fat'. Butter is so much better for you, as butter has minimal ingredients that can actually feed your body the healthy fats it needs. If you are not dairy-free or can consume dairy, I would highly recommend always choosing butter over the highly processed margarine.
Regular Peanut Butter
Yes, peanut butter contains healthy fats. But when healthy fats are paired with icing sugar and hydrogenated oils, the healthy fats don't become the main part or give you the same benefits anymore. It's like putting avocado on a frosted donut–it doesn't work like that. Peanut butter should have one or two ingredients: peanuts and salt. That is where you'll get the healthy fats that will actually benefit you!
Fat Free Salad Dressings
Or maybe this should be fat free anything. When a company takes the fat out of a product, they have to add so much sugar or other random ingredients to fill the space/make it taste better. You're way better off making your own salad dressings out of mustard, olive oil, and/or balsamic vinegar. That way you're avoiding all of those other ingredients that you don't recognize or need.
Soy protein can be found in so many foods. As women, we should limit our soy intake as it really messes with our hormones which is not something we want. Soy is such a processed food, and if you are to eat soy, it should be organic edamame which has a ton of protein. Too much soy protein can also lead to kidney failure. So be careful and check your ingredient list!
I know, I'm so sorry. But there is a way around this one! In the grocery store, you'll see a ton of packaged pancake mixes that seem harmless. You've eaten them all your life, right? However, trans fats and hydrogenated oils are still listed as ingredients for the popular pancake mixes. Paired with syrups that are made with high-fructose corn syrup and your breakfast is literally a dessert. Try making pancakes with protein powder, oats, bananas, and/or eggs. There are so many options, stick to the one that won't give you a blood sugar crash.
This one is probably not what you think. While yes, the ingredients are not great in microwaveable popcorn, the bags are coated with nonstick perfluorochemicals like perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which is a chemical that is linked to cancer. Also, the fake butter flavour is not your friend as it has so many ingredients you definitely can't pronounce. Try popping your own kernels by sticking it in a paper bag with olive oil and sea salt!
Flavoured Coffee Creamers
Hidden sugars and artificial flavours are everywhere, so much so that you can't even avoid them in coffee creamers. I know, they taste so good that you can't imagine your coffee without them. However, you're adding a ton of calories into your coffee for zero nutritional value as the sugars and flavours diminish the nutrients you would get from just plain coffee creamer. Try using coconut oil, or dairy-free coffee creamers.
I'm sure you're thinking that diet soda is way better for you than regular, right? Wrong. Diet soda is literally all chemicals, and even though you still shouldn't drink soda, it's best to drink the regular soda with all of the calories than the ones with aspartame. If you're looking for something bubbly, try sparkling water with lemon or lime in it. Or La Croix is great if you're trying to ween yourself off of soda in general.
Hot dogs are actually one of the most processed foods you can eat. Of course, once a year at a ball game won't kill you, but if you're someone who loves barbecuing in the summer time and chowing down on a couple of hot dogs a week, chances are your body isn't enjoying how much it's having to work to fight it off. Hot dogs provide hardly any nutritional value and barely any protein. Stick to turkey sausages or a burger instead.
This is a hard one to take in. Let's be honest, ketchup makes everything taste better. But that's probably because it's all sugar, and very heavily processed. If you are going to buy ketchup, make sure it's the organic kind. Sugar should never be the first or second ingredient in a food, especially a sauce that adds flavour and no nutritional value. Try cutting out ketchup little by little, or use mustard instead which has 0 calories.