As you work to be healthier, lose weight and clean up your diet, you probably already know that you should eliminate the pop, chips and cookies from your pantry.
But what you may not know is that there is excess sugar, salt and just unfriendly ingredients lurking in other products that you may have otherwise thought were okay. This stuff causes bloating, weight gain, and all sorts of negative health benefits!
Do yourself a favour and give your pantry a deeper look, starting with purging these ten items:
You’ve heard of the importance of eliminating white bread, but white pasta falls under the same category – refined white flour, stripped of most of it’s nutritional content that essentially acts as a sugar in the body and causes a spike in insulin, while leaving you hungry soon after you eat it. Replace your white pasta with whole grain pasta instead or try some other kinds like buckwheat noodles or brown rice noodles.
While they may seem a convenient choice as you vow to start making lunches ahead to take with you to work, lunch meats are anything but your friend. Loaded with salt, preservatives like nitrates and extremely high in all the bad fats, it’s best to stay away from these processed, pre-packages sandwich fillers. Instead, cook some extra chicken when you do dinner over the weekend and use it for sandwiches during the week, or make a few days meatless, substituting a chickpea salad sandwich, or just making it all veggies!
Anything but just peanuts peanut butter
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and (in moderation), is an excellent choice to spread on some whole grain toast for breakfast, or to have as a snack with an apple. But often, peanut butter you find on the shelves is loaded with preservatives, has added salt and has hydrogenated oil added to stop the separation. Instead of purchasing any of these familiar options, opt to make your own (all you need is peanuts and a blender or food processor), or find brands that contain an ingredient list with just peanuts.
Canned, spiced tomatoes
I buy canned tomatoes regularly – they are essential for whipping up soups or pasta dishes for quick and healthy weeknight meals and I have them in curries all the time. I only ever buy plain though, because many of the other seasoned tomatoes (like “herbs and spices” or “garlic”) have added sugar. Check the ingredient list next time before you purchase them, and if you need to, just add your own flavourings at home!
Gluten Free alternatives (unless necessary)
Going gluten free does not guarantee being healthy. When products are made without gluten, companies have to resort to other ingredients to play the properties of the gluten such as bind ingredients together and keep it palatable for consumers. The ingredients that are added are often sugar, salt and other fillers, resulting in a product, that while gluten free, is not free of other substances that can have a negative impact on your health and weight loss goals.
Many people embrace a plant-based diet as a good way to lose weight and eat clean. And while it’s true, and necessary to add more greens, fruits and veggies to your diet if you want to be healthier, seeking fake substitutes for things like meat and cheese is not always the best choice. Many of these are filled with chemicals to make them behave or taste like the real thing and the main ingredient is often soy, which can be genetically modified, depending on the source. Instead choose protein alternatives like legumes and organic tempeh, or homemade seitan, not protein replacements.
Most store-bought juices
Store-bought juice often contains added sugar or is from concentrate, and is essentially liquid calories. Refrain from purchasing juice and instead make your own at home with mostly veggies. If you need a healthy juice recipe, have a look at these 10 healthy detox juice recipes!
Even those labeled “healthy choice,” “whole grain,” or weightwatchers still often have high levels of sugar and sodium. While these are okay every so often, don’t make them your regular meal or go to for your workday lunch. Instead, make a big batch of soup or pasta dish on the weekend and package the leftovers in a container to have at work all week long!
They trick you pretty well: they label the yogurt as probiotic, or low calorie, but in fact, if you look closely, it’s also labeled with sugar. Take a look at the ingredient list the next time you buy yogurt to see if yours has added sugar. For many brands, sugar is the second or third ingredient, and regardless of it’s probiotic benefits, they don’t outweigh the sugar content.