If you’re like 99 percent of us after the holidays, you’re desperately looking for a way to lose weight, shape up and kick that holiday bloat. Instead of telling you what you need to eat to lose weight, we’re going to make it just a little easier. We’re going to tell you what to avoid to keep those holiday jiggles away.
Although some of these foods are very common sense (you know a hot dog is not going to get you into a size 6), some are a bit of a surprise. So before you hit the supermarket to stock up on your health food go-tos, check out this list of foods you need to avoid in 2013.
This one pretty much goes without saying, but if you still need some convincing, how about we share just how many calories and grams of fat are in one Grande? One regular mocha frap has 400 calories, 16 grams of fat and 60 grams of sugar! That is three times the amount of sugar in a Snickers bar. If you can’t live without your daily Starbucks, opt for a Grande nonfat mocha to save more than 200 calories and 10 grams of fat.
These heavily processed links are made with more preservatives than they are meat, so skip the ballpark dog and opt for something else. One regular hot dog has more than 700 milligrams of sodium and more than 14 grams of fat (with almost half of that saturated). If you really want a hot dog, opt for a low-sodium kosher dog made with 100 percent real meat or a tofu dog, made with soy protein.
Store-bought pasta sauces
This may be a hard habit to break, and we get that. However, just take a glance at the nutrition label of your favorite sauce before you throw it into your cart. One-half cup of premade sauce has more than 10 grams of sugar and more than 500 milligrams of sodium. Skip the super sweet sauce and make your own with this recipe. You save more than 5 grams of sugar and 250 milligrams of sodium this way!
Fast food muffins
These monstrosities may look healthy, but trust us, they aren’t. One regular-sized muffin from Dunkin Donuts has more than 600 calories, 25 grams of fat, 54 grams of sugar and more than 90 grams of carbohydrates. To give you some perspective, that is the equivalent of three regular-sized glazed donuts. Leave the bakery counter behind and make your own muffins with this healthy chocolate zucchini muffin recipe!
Microwavable “diet” meals
Beware of those frozen dinners that claim to be “healthy” or “low-fat,” because they are often far from that. Many of the dishes that are lower in fat are loaded with preservatives, calories, sugar and sodium. For example, Lean Cuisine’s Macaroni and Beef in Tomato Sauce has almost 600 milligrams of sodium! Plus, because the portions are so small, you end up binging on other snacks an hour later. Save your money and make healthier meals at home, like one of these Weight Watchers crock-pot dishes.
If you want to start eating healthier, why not mimic the diets of food and nutritional experts? According to Yahoo, food experts won’t eat conventional apples and here’s why. Apples don’t develop resistance to pesticides because of how they are grafted when they are grown. Avoid getting sick (laborers in farms have higher rates of cancer) and buy only organic apples. If you can’t afford that, be sure to peel and wash them before eating.
You might as well just call a can of soup a can of salt because that’s one of the main ingredients. A one-half cup serving of Campbell’s tomato and rice soup has more than 750 milligrams of sodium! If you eat an entire can’s worth, you end up consuming 73 percent of your day’s worth of sodium in just one meal. Skip the saltwater and make your own soup at home. We love this creamy squash soup because it’s easy and delicious.
We know it’s cheaper to buy corn-fed versus grass-fed, but the nutritional difference between the two is like night and day. According to a study done by the USDA, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s also lower in saturated fats that often cause heart attacks and coronary disease. Plus, many corn-feed cows are pumped with preservatives to make them fatter and easier to slaughter.
We don’t mean to ruin your movie nights, but do you really know what’s in that bag of your favorite popcorn? There are chemicals that line the bags, including perfluorooctanoic acid, that have been linked to infertility in humans. In fact, a study found that animals who were fed microwavable popcorn had higher rates of cancer. Skip the bags and pop your own kernels or make specialty popcorn with this recipe roundup.
Reduced-fat peanut butter
Even though a serving of peanut butter is high in fat (16 grams per tablespoon), what many people don’t realize is it’s healthy fat. Most nut butters are full of monounsaturated fats, which reduce LDL (bad cholesterol). Reducing the fat only takes out many of the great nutrients found in peanut butter. Plus, many of these reduced fat varieties are higher in sugar to make up for the lack of flavor. Stick with the regular, full-fat variety to ensure you are getting all of the necessary nutrients.