As a 25-year-old young professional with a full time job, it’s an absolute miracle that I manage to feed myself with any semblance of regularity. To toot my horn even louder, I usually manage to squeeze in a veggie or fruit at every meal. But there are days when I come home and my deepest desire is to open up a bag of Buffalo Wing Ruffles, crack my favorite craft brew and fall mindlessly into a Scandal/ Mindy Project marathon. I hoard these chips in my cabinet for desperate moments like this, and then proceed to binge with little concern for my gestational health. Please tell me some of you have been to this dark place before.
Chips are like a siren call for me, people. So in an attempt to get my health and wellness and fitness and greatness on track, the following are 10 foods that are getting kicked out of my kitchen. Disclaimer: some of these foods have been kicked out for years, y’all. I just included them for your benefit!
Soda is essentially a sugary wasteland full of empty calories. Regular sodas contain high fructose corn syrup and at least 40 grams of sugar, while diet soda replaces sugar with controversial aspartame. No matter which kind you prefer, both are unhealthy and dehydrate you from all the chemicals and caffeine.
2. Ranch Dressing
Pizza and ranch will probably go down as the most compatible couple in history. Unfortunately for you, it’s time for this pair to split. This wonderful dipping sauce makes almost anything taste better, but that’s because of the modified sweeteners and maltodextrin. In short, the tanginess we love comes from chemicals disguised under ingredients called natural flavors. Choose either a healthier alternative for your carrots or remove dipping sauces altogether. Also, you probably shouldn’t be eating pizza to being with.
3. Potato Chips
I begrudgingly added this to my list because I need a reality check. You can’t have just one. It’s almost impossible for me to stop eating these glorious little crisps once I’ve started, especially while doing mindless things like watching television. Before you know it, half a bag is gone along with several grams of fat and sodium and tears. Vegetables or fruits are a much healthier alternative. They don’t stick to your teeth or make you crave more. However, they also don’t taste like a personal gift sent down from above…
4. Low Calorie Snack Packs
At only 100 calories, snack packs are fine, right? Actually, these pack a lot more dangers than you realize. Artificial sweeteners with long names you can’t pronounce replace the sugars, so you never really know what you’re consuming. Additional preservatives are also just as tongue twisting, and it doesn’t sound healthy to eat a snack that won’t expire for a year. Convenient, yes. Healthy, no.
5. Microwave Popcorn
It’s the perfect movie night snack, but this film favorite combines lots of unhealthy foods into one. With excessive calories, saturated fat, sodium and carbs, popcorn leads the pack of harmful snacks. Instead, munch on some veggies or dried fruit the next time you pop in a movie. Or do what I do and save your calories for the rare occasion you go to the movies and get the real thing.
6. Sugary Cereals
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, minus those fruity or frosted cereals. Popular brands now say they’re a good source of fiber or whole grain, but the remaining high fructose corn syrup quickly turns a whole-grain breakfast into dessert. If you’re a cereal lover, search instead for something organic without high sugar content.
7. Prepackaged Meat
It’s quick and seems healthy, but packaged lunchmeat seals in more than just saturated fats and extra sodium. Recent studies found that through processing, lunchmeats contain sodium nitrite, which could possibly lead to cancer. Avoid this potential risk by heading toward the deli for freshly cut meat slices.
8. Microwave Dinners
I’m going to assume that adding this just my own personal version of a silly joke.I’m going to go one step further and assume that almost no one eats microwave dinners anymore. I’m almost 100 percent sure the last microwave dinner I ate had dinosaurs on the package and promised a fudge brownie that it did NOT DELIVER. It’s much easier to throw something in the microwave and press a button, but cooking is worth the effort in this case. Frozen meals are filled with hydrogenated oils, meaning they contain trans fats, and they don’t give you the same amount of nutrients as a home-cooked meal. Microwaving them removes even more nutrients through heat processing.
9. Ice Cream Bars
Ice cream is everyone’s sweet treat for a stressful or sad day. Because of this, we tend to consume more than we should. Not only are ice cream bars filled with chemical preservatives to keep them frozen, but they also have high amounts of cholesterol that can go beyond our allotted serving of 300 mg per day.
I used to be sad about having to give up ice cream bars. I then realized that plain Greek yogurt with natural honey is the BOMB.COM (yes, I’m bringing that back), so I still feel like I’m getting a decadent treat when I’m actually consuming a protein packed snack.
10. Whipped Cream
Sometimes it’s a dollop on coffee or pie, and sometimes you mix it with Nutella and you’ve got the best Netflix binge watching snack in the history of the world. Whipped cream contains at least 1.5 grams of fat per serving, and a serving usually falls somewhere around a couple tablespoons, not the literal cups I typically scoop on to my ice cream. It’s easy to pass that when you’re spraying without measuring. Eliminate extra toppings on your beverages or desserts. It’s not worth the extra fat.
A Healthy Challenge
Swearing off these foods may sound like a challenge at first, but the better you eat, the less you’ll crave them. You may even look back and find them completely unappealing. That’s good for your health and your waistline.