Are These 6 Worst Healthy Foods Sabotaging Your Results?
It’s frustrating when your body won’t change. When the pounds won’t drop. When those extra inches won’t go away. If you’re exercising regularly and still not seeing results then it’s time that you look closely at your diet.
One of the biggest obstacles that prevents you from losing fat and getting into awesome shape is all that processed food that you’re still eating. And I can’t blame you, with the way more and more processed foods are being marketed as healthy, even the health savvy are being fooled.
Take a walk through the local natural foods market and you’ll see nearly every form of junk food that you’d find at the supermarket – only with things like ‘gluten free’, ‘organic’ and ‘zero trans fats’ on the packages.
Those can all be great – gluten free, organic and trans fats free. Fresh, organic veggies, fruits and meats could all boast the same. But when those words are stamped on a package of cookies, chips or the like, then eating them is going to seriously slow your fitness results. “All Natural” or not.
Here are the top 5 ‘healthy’ processed foods that you’re eating that are killing your results and keeping you from attaining your goal weight:
Have you seen the cereal aisle at the natural foods market? Its shelves are lined with dozens of cereal boxes, all with bold health claims. There are gluten free cereals, cereals with no corn syrup, cereals with heart healthy grains, cereals with whole grains and even cereals with added vitamins.
Those all sound healthy, right? Well, sure those cereals are technically not as harmful as the brightly colored cereals with cartoons on the box, but as far as your fat loss results are concerned, both can cause you problems.
Added sugar is what makes the cereal taste so good and unfortunately, there is typically a lot of sugar in 1 cup of cereal. Read the food label and check out the grams of total carbohydrate (typically around 50g for 1 cup) and grams of sugar (typically around 15g for 1 cup). Some cereals have redeeming qualities like over 6 grams of fiber or fortified with B vitamins. But if you really take a deep look, shouldn’t you be getting the fiber and vitamins from fruits, vegetables and other, non-processed foods.
Substitute: Try old fashioned rolled oats, barley or cooked quinoa with fruit or spices if you are looking for a cereal-type breakfast. Cook in bulk and reheat for speed in the morning.
Healthy Packaged Snacks
There is a brand of ‘healthy’ popcorn that literally has ‘fit’ in its name. With branding like that it’s no wonder people are getting confused and eating food that destroys their fitness results.
Popcorn, and other crunchy, packaged ‘health’ food snacks are filled with sugar and processed ingredients. These snack items are habit forming, so you may tell yourself that it’s just a once-in-awhile treat, but soon it becomes a daily occurrence.
Here’s the simple, unchanging fact about packaged snack foods: No matter what benefits are broadcasted on the package, the packaged snacks are still processed and can be a culprit for unchanging percent body fat.
Substitute: Yes, I am going to say fruits and veggies (have you tried raw veggies with balsamic vinegar?). Those are the easy snacks that are so hard for some reason. Clementines, apples, pears, bananas, pineapple, baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, part skim mozzarella cheese, Greek yogurt (contact me if you are confused about the spectrum of processed foods), 9 almonds, 8 walnuts, kale chips or homemade sweet potato chips.
Healthy Energy Bars
The energy bar aisle at the health food store is a colorful, wonderland of beautifully packaged, seemingly healthful snacks. The bars contain nuts, fruits, protein and even goji berries. What’s not to love?
All the sugar, for starters. Manufacturers are clever enough to call sugar ‘evaporated can juice’ or ‘natural cane sugar’ or even ‘rice syrup’ but that sugar reacts in your body just the same as any other sugar. It encourages fat storage and inflammation.
The next time that you reach for an energy bar, consider all of the ingredients on the food label. Look for bars that are low in sugars and high in protein, and if you’re eating it in between meals consider eating just half the bar.
Substitute: You can make your own.
Have you ever spent time in the bread aisle, reading labels and trying to figure out which is the healthiest? It can be pretty confusing. There’s wheat, whole wheat, gluten free, and sprouted grain. How can you tell what’s the healthiest?
The unfortunate news, for all you bread lovers, is that when it comes to losing inches, the grains and starches can be the main problem. Some people choose to stay away from bread completely which is totally fine. But if that is not an option for you, you need to be extremely judicious about which bread you buy or make.
I have had a ton of questions about bread, so I’m going to be doing a blog dedicated to figuring out which bread is the best for you. In the meantime, read the food label and ingredients and the big goal is to not overdo the bread or starches.
Substitute: Learn to be an educated bread or starch (tortillas, bagels, sandwich thins, English muffins, etc) buyer. Or you can substitute for things like lettuce, avocado shells, baking in muffin tins, phyllo, sweet potato thins, tomato slices or other vehicles to hold your “sandwich style” meal together.
We’ve all been caught be the yogurt conundrum. It’s a great snack! It has too much sugar! Try Greek yogurt! Dairy is bad for you!
Sort it out this way: Some yogurt is a sugar trap and some yogurt can be a gut friendly, good balance of protein, fat and lactose sugar. If you don’t like Greek yogurt and you can’t stomach the plain version, you probably shouldn’t be eating yogurt. Yogurt with at least a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein, fewer than 5 ingredients and a listing of the probiotics can be a good food option. However, anything other than that is not going to be healthy for you. Don’t go for the low sugar (yucky fake sweeteners), the no fat (if they take fat out, they add sugar in) or the flavors that are too good to be true.
Substitute: If you can’t find a brand you like with few ingredients and high protein, you can either add whole fruit to the plain version or eat cottage cheese.
Healthy Trail Mix
Trail mix is a tricky one for healthy food shoppers. It’s made with nuts and seeds, which we know to be healthy. It’s often dotted with chocolate, sweetened dried fruits or other treats.
Nuts can belong in a fat loss diet, within certain parameters. For example, a small handful of raw almonds makes a wonderful in-between-meals snack. It’s filled with fiber, good fat, a little protein, vitamins and minerals.
A half cup of trail mix, on the other hand, is packed with two or three times the calories in addition to having added sweeteners and extra salt. Not to mention, trail mix is hard to stop eating once you’ve started.
Substitute: 9 almonds, 8 walnuts, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or make your own mix and stick to 1/4 cup.
Never take a packaged food item based on the claims and benefits printed on the labels. When you’re looking to transform your body, you must guard what goes into your mouth. Packaged foods, even those from the health store, are going to derail your results ever single time.
The Way Nature Intended
Food that’s untouched and unprocessed is always going to be the healthiest. See how many real, whole foods you can fit into your diet, while cutting out the packaged foods. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your body transforms when you eat food prepared the way nature intended.
Baked Spaghetti Squash Pie
- 1 organic spaghetti squash
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 clove garlic
- dash of pepper
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 8 ounces ground turkey or beef
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons flax meal
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Wash the spaghetti squash, slice in half lengthwise and bake cut-side up in a 375 degree F oven for 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. You can also steam the squash in the microwave.
- Discard the cashew soaking water. Combine the cashews, lemon juice, water, olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic and pepper in a blender. Mix until completely smooth. Set the cheese spread aside.
- In a large skillet warm the coconut oil or olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook until the meat is brown and onion is tender. Stir in fennel seeds, tomato sauce, and oregano. Heat through. Remove from heat.
- Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash strands from the squash skins and place in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, flax meal and nutritional yeast. Mix until fully incorporated. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with coconut oil. Press spaghetti squash mixture onto the bottom and up sides of pie plate, forming a crust. Spread the meat mixture over the crust. Sprinkle with the cheese spread.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Slice into wedges to serve.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 289 calories, 19g fat, 347mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 16g protein