7 Worst Things to Eat While on a Diet
The saying, “you are what you eat” holds true with your health and fitness. As much as I lead a healthy lifestyle by not only exercising regularly, but also being cautious with my nutritional intake, I do allow myself to enjoy a bit of something “forbidden” every once in a while. Never straying away from your path is an admirable goal, but life is also about balance.
While a bunch of dried fruits, some nut butter, or even a bowl of popcorn will usually satisfy most of my cravings, I must admit a glass of wine, preferably Moscatto, hits the spot from time to time. However, despite the occasional free passes I give myself with my nutrition, there are a few things that could quickly sabotage all of the hard work any of us have been doing to improve our bodies.
When we are out with friends celebrating special events, relaxing, or simply because it is Friday, it seems almost natural to raise a glass of wine, a mug of beer, or a martini glass. However, all alcoholic beverages and particularly mixed drinks are full of calories that offer no nutritional value and inhibit weight loss. Companionship is necessary for a full life, but we can enjoy those nights out without the extra calories.
Healthy Alternatives: If you are looking for something sweet, try cranberry juice and tonic or a blueberry and lemon infused black tea. If you really want an alcoholic beverage, a small glass of red wine is the best compromise.
After a workout it seems like a great idea to grab a sugar-filled sports drink that promises to replenish our lost fluids, rebalance our electrolytes, and give us a post-workout boost. The high calories and ingredients that are so hard to pronounce make these heavily marketed products a bad choice.
Healthy Alternatives: Bananas washed down with water quickly replenish your body’s lost potassium and fluids. Try all natural coconut water as a healthy choice that tastes great!
Yogurt is so great for your digestive system and can give you that fix of sweetness without too much guilt. Unfortunately, flavored yogurts are loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients that can ultimately lead to weight gain.
Healthy Alternatives: Select organic or all natural plain or unflavored yogurts and add your own fresh fruit to provide that sweetness you crave.
Pop (Soft Drinks)
Some of the hot summer days make us crave that bubbly, super sweet beverage and as a kid, drinking pop was considered a “treat”. Unfortunately, pop is manufactured with a combination of unpronounceable chemicals, high levels of sugar or artificial sweeteners, and many varieties have proven to be corrosive to metals – not to mention our insides.
Healthy Alternatives: Fruit infused teas or water, or even a small glass of 100% fruit juice are ideal ways of quenching your thirst on even the hottest of days. If you are infusing water, mix it up with different combinations to keep your taste buds wanting more.
Sprinkled with salt and dipped in ketchup, even the thought of fries can make me hungry, yet indulging always leaves me feeling guilty. Potato chips and fries are such a quick and easy snack but are loaded with saturated fat which is the unhealthy fat we need to avoid in our diets.
Healthy Alternatives: Try coating some slices of avocado or zucchini in egg whites, then panko bread crumbs and bake them for a healthy, low calorie choice. Baked kale leaves give you that salty, crunchy taste that promises to become a craving you can satisfy.
Excess Table Salt
That saltshaker in the middle of the table just waits for us to use it on all of our food. Used moderately, salt can enhance the taste of some foods. But mindlessly shaking salt on everything can trigger your body to hold on to excess fluids and cause bloating that is certain to prevent you from fitting into that new sundress.
Healthy Alternatives: Low sodium salsa tastes fantastic on top of eggs. Balsamic vinegar with olive oil takes some of the bitter out of greens. Roasted garlic has a rich and slightly sweet flavor that adds an extra layer of flavor.
Fried Sweet Potatoes
We sometimes try to kid ourselves into thinking that if part of our food choice is nutritional, it will balance out the not-so-healthy part. Sweet potatoes are a great selection, but when they are battered and fried, that coating and oil sits right on our waist line. Add salt to those fried treats and you can kiss your mini-dress goodbye.
Healthy Alternatives: Slice a sweet potato or a beet, add a touch of salt and olive oil, and then bake until crispy. Cube some parsnips then mix with some olive oil, a touch of salt, and crushed red pepper flakes and bake until lightly browned.
As a personal trainer, I focus on the health and wellness of the body as a whole, not just muscle groups. I not only talk the talk, I walk the walk and make sure that what I recommend, I have tried. Good food choices are sometimes difficult to make, but the benefits are priceless.
When I find myself craving something that I know isn’t good for me, the first thing I do is grab a glass of water to fill my stomach. If that doesn’t satisfy me, I head for some veggies or any one of the healthy alternatives I’ve already mentioned. Nutrition can be challenging at times, but when we know we have options, we are more likely to be able to satisfy that crunchy or sweet craving.
Selecting wholesome foods as snacks may be a little tough at first, but once you dedicate yourself to living a healthy lifestyle; it will become easy to do. So, before you take that first bite, take a breath, count to 10, think about that upcoming beach vacation, then decide if you are making the best choice for your waistline and your wardrobe.
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