Boy oh boy dieting can be challenging these days, not to mention the fact that you need to wean yourself away all the comfort foods and easy meal options like eating out of a box most of us fall prey to. So what do we do? We opt for things like 1/2 the fat ice cream without noticing that it contains twice the sugar, or tell ourselves that white bread is ok because sometimes it’s even lower in calories then whole wheat choices. Or how about those tiny frozen entrees that brag that they only contain 300 calories? Who hasn’t gone this route before? I know I have in the past! They’re usually loaded with sodium, carbs and a long list of bad for you ingredients. Basically, if you can’t pronounce the words on the nutritional label, they probably shouldn’t be going into your body.
In order to make smart food choices, whether it’s to lose weight or simply for the health benefits, you need to learn about good nutrition including good carbs versus bad carbs, the connection between sugar, insulin and obesity, and how way to many of us fill up on empty, artery clogging food choices often presented to us as healthier pre-packaged choices (yeah right!).
The first thing to do before you buy anything food related is read the nutritional information and ingredients. If sugar is listed as one of the top 5 ingredients move on. Sugar can lead to heart problems, affect blood sugar levels and is one of the biggest causes of obesity in our country today. You’ll also want to avoid bad carbohydrates like white flour, the main ingredient in so call “wonder” bread and high carb pasta. An easy rule of thumb when it comes to grains is going brown; whole wheat bread, pasta and opt for brown rice instead of white, all in limited amounts. As you read the nutrition labels on the food you buy look for vitamins, proteins and healthy nutrients that your body relies on for optimal health and start finding a balance so that you’ll feel healthy and have plenty of energy throughout the day. Making smart food choices will also boost your immune system and can help you ward off all sorts if illnesses and even cancer.
Both fresh baked goods found in most grocery stores and pre-package sweet treats are definitely something to be wary of. They have become known as “white goods” in the world of health experts and they are characterized by their massive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. These heavy, fill you up, for the most part comfort foods that often lead to emotional eating, can give you quick bursts of energy, but these are typically followed by plummeting to exhaustion, and offer little to no nutritional value or long term health benefits.
It’s one thing to decide to lose weight, rock some skinny jeans or feel as energetic as you did 30 pounds lighter; it’s quite another to attempt to do it by choosing what you’re going to eat in an attempt to lose the weight without reading the nutritional information. In addition, instead of eating “out of the box” and filling up on high carb, fatty, sugar loaded foods and bad for you artificial ingredients and preservatives, bring out your inner chef and whip up a few meals for yourself using fresh vegetables, lean meats and a bit of lightly seasoned beans; your body will love you for it!