Processed foods are popular because they’re convenient, even though we all know junk food is bad for us. Families with children are particularly susceptible to the lure of processed foods because they are so pressed for time. But while they’re fine on occasion, the easy, cheap calories in processed foods are damaging our health and it’s best to avoid them whenever possible. Here’s a look at the very worst offenders.
SODA – Regular sodas are loaded with sugar and, with little to no nutritional value, should only be consumed very infrequently. But what’s surprising is that diet soda drinkers are actually more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and in some studies appear more likely to gain weight. While the causes aren’t clear, one thing we know for certain is that there’s nothing wrong with an old-fashioned glass of water, which keeps the body hydrated, and promotes better digestion, and protects tissue and organs.
MARGARINE – Think of stick margarine as a big block of trans fat — hydrogenated oil helps liquid oils to be solid at room temperature, and is a key ingredient in margarine. Trans fat adversely affects both good and bad cholesterol, not to mention increasing triglycerides, lipoprotein, and inflammation. For buttery goodness, go with the real thing, or opt for a flavorful olive oil.
POTATO CHIPS – Nobody thinks potato chips are good for you, but according to a very broad study of obesity published in the New England Journal of Medicine, no single food contributed more to obesity than potato chips. It may seem strange that a food that’s not a sweet would top the list, but potato chips are a food that people just naturally overeat.
FRENCH FRIES – A small serving of french fries has about 275 calories and nearly 15 grams of fat, but the real issue is the nearly 4 grams of trans fat in a single serving. For a healthier option, try simple roast potatoes or homemade oven fries.
BLENDED COFFEE DRINKS – A grande vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks without whipped cream has 300 calories. The same amount of black coffee has five calories. Better to get your caffeine fix without getting your sweets fix. But if you must feed your sweet tooth, you would actually get less calories from drinking a cup of coffee and eating some fudge.
MICROWAVE POPCORN – Popcorn is often touted as a healthy snack option, but beware since lots of name-brand microwave popcorn is actually full of trans fat —one brand has 5 grams of trans fat per serving (even more than margarine). Microwave popcorn can also be packed with sodium. Don’t skip the popcorn all together, but consider buying a plain variety and adding your own flavors, or reading the label very carefully before you buy.
Make healthier popcorn
HOT DOGS – This one hurts because hot dogs are a personal favorite. But even if you can put what parts of the animal are actually in them out of your mind, one hot dog still has 20 percent of your daily recommended intake of sodium and is loaded with saturated fat to boot.
For a healthier alternative, try veggie dogs
PROCESSED CHEESE DIP – Two tablespoons of Cheez Whiz have 90 calories. That compares favorably with something like mayonnaise, but whereas two tablespoons of mayo is more than enough, the amount of Cheez Whiz you eat with something like nachos is a lot more than two tablespoons. It’s also loaded with fat and sodium.
Try these 7 ways to add veggies to your mac and cheese
GROCERY STORE COOKIES – Sugary and loaded with fat, these high-calorie cookies aren’t completely awful for you if you stick to the serving size. Three cookies come in around 160 calories (or over 50 calories each) with about 8 grams of fat. But the thing is, are you really only going to eat three chocolate chip cookies?
For a healthier alternative with whole grains and fruit, try oatmeal cranberry cookies
DOUGHNUTS – I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that these aren’t very good for you. A single glazed donut has about 260 calories and 14 grams of fat, including 30 percent of your daily allowance of saturated fat. Though many kinds are now free of them, donuts frequently contain trans fats too.
Try whole wheat banana muffins for a healthier breakfast choice
BACON – Look, I don’t want to diss a fave, but bacon is a processed meat that’s loaded with fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Just 2 strips of bacon have 12 percent of your DV sodium! Most bacon also contains nitrates and other preservatives.
For a healthier take on bacon, try green salad with pears, bacon, and homemade buttermilk dressing
FROZEN DINNERS – Not all frozen dinners are created equal, and the processed food industry is rife with “health washing.” Keep in mind that many brands serve up salty, fatty dishes, and “healthier” options may have questionable additives and ingredients, or compensate for a loss of other flavors with loads of sodium.
Shop smart: what to look for in a healthy frozen meal
GIANT FAST FOOD HAMBURGERS – Hamburgers are getting bigger and bigger, but here we’ll stick with the modestly enormous BK Double Whopper which has 990 calories, 2.5 grams trans fat, 195 milligrams cholesterol, and 1,520 milligrams sodium. Yum?
Make it healthier: 11 healthy twists on junk food classics
BOLOGNA – Just 2 slices of bologna have over 600mg of sodium which is over 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Even worse is that bologna is most often marketed to kids. Steer clear of this salty, preservative-filled mystery meat.
Try roast turkey instead
NON DAIRY CREAMER – Made with partially hydrogenated oil, most non-dairy creamers contain trans fat. The label will tell you otherwise, but only because the serving size is miniscule — 1 teaspoon. I’d need at least 10 teaspoons for my morning coffee! Stick to alternative milks like soy and nut if you can’t have dairy.
Copyright © 2012 Spanfeller Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Daily Meal ® is a registered trademark of Spanfeller Media Group, Inc
By Dr. Alexander Chernev, Author of The Dieter’s Paradox: Why Dieting Makes Us Fat, the following is an excerpt from the book. Dr. Chernev is a psychologist who is studying how people make choices.
Our weight-loss efforts are often derailed by our focus on short-term results and lack of commitment to a particular course of action. Even when we are devoted to the idea of dieting, we seem to have trouble staying loyal to the chosen dieting plan. The following strategies can help curb this consistency bias.
Control Mindless Habits
Mindless eating has become ingrained in our lifestyle. Too often we eat out of habit, grabbing things just because they’re out there in plain sight, waiting to be eaten. To get a grip on these subconscious impulses, make indulgences less frequent, less prominent, and less convenient. Avoid temptations by banishing them from your daily routine.
Our myopic focus on immediate results makes us seek drastic solutions, downplaying the effect of incremental changes. We fail to visualize the long-term impact of our short-term actions and refuse to believe that skipping a 400- calorie muffin every morning could reduce our annual calorie intake by as much as 150,000 calories (equal to the recommended calorie intake for 60 full days). Over the long run, small changes produce big results.
Set Actionable Goals
Having the vague goal of “dieting” without a defined action plan can hardly help one lose weight. To be actionable, goals need be specific: they must pinpoint the desired outcomes and set a time frame for achieving these outcomes. Writing down goals makes them easier to share, which further strengthens our commitment and makes us more accountable for reaching them. Set actionable goals and fortify your commitment by writing down and sharing these goals.
Variety can both facilitate and hamper weight-management efforts. Abundant variety makes us eager to try all the different options available and in many cases leads to overconsumption. Not enough variety can lead to boredom and increased consumption because lack of novelty blunts satisfaction and delays satiation. Introduce variety into your menu while controlling total consumption.
Think Carrots Not Sticks
Diets based only on inhibition are short-lived: they produce short-term results and are often followed by a rebound. (This is why many crash diets create repeat customers!) The goal is not to conquer the indulgent urges but to pacify them with sensible rewards. Focus on what to achieve, not just what to avoid.
Thinking about food in terms of consumption episodes makes us vulnerable to the “what-the-hell” effect. Once we break our diet, we consider the entire meal or event “spoiled” and consequently overindulge in the very behavior we’ve been trying to avoid. Break away from the “what-the-hell” mentality.
Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.
It really is a shame. Some of the best-tasting foods are actually some of the worst in terms of fat and calories. But it can be hard to avoid them, especially in places—like malls—where nutrition information usually isn’t available.
So we did the work for you; take a look at a list of foods you should skip—or pick—at a mall, restaurant, or grocery store.
(A 2,000-calorie-a-day diet should have no more than 66 grams of fat, less than 20 grams saturated; 2,400 milligrams of sodium; and 300 grams of total carbohydrate, including sugars.)
Fruit and yogurt can’t be bad, right? Wrong. Smoothies are often made with ice cream or milk and can be crammed with sugar. At least this treat gives you a heads up: It’s listed on the menu as a smoothie for people looking to gain weight.
But the calories are excessive—more than two Big Macs put together. And that’s just the small.
One 20-ounce smoothie: 1,044 calories, 35g fat, 120g sugar.
Choose this instead: Low-Carb Strawberry smoothie: 268 calories, 9g fat, 3g sugar.
2. Starbucks’ Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Creme with Whipped Cream
Sure it sounds bad, but how bad is it? This afternoon pick-me-up delivers nearly one-third of the maximum fat you should consume in a day, and over half a day’s saturated fat.
One 16-ounce Grande: 510 calories; 19g fat, 11g saturated; 59g sugar; 300mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Your best bet is a regular cup of coffee without all the bells and whistles. If you just can’t live without a Frappuccino, make it a Coffee Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee: 130 calories, 0.5g fat, 16g sugar
Chances are you already suspect that milkshakes aren’t all that healthy. But this particular shake, made with chocolate ice cream, milk, and peanut butter, is in a class of its own. This frosty monster delivers an entire day’s worth of calories and almost three and a half times the daily limit for saturated fat.
One “Gotta Have It” (Coldstone speak for “large”): 2,010 calories; 131g fat, 68g saturated; 153g sugar.
Choose this instead: A better bet is the 16-ounce Sinless Oh Fudge! Shake, with the same chocolaty taste, but a quarter of the calories and only 2 grams of fat.
4. Auntie Anne’s Jumbo Pretzel Dog
Auntie Anne’s sells snacks, not meals. But this concoction—a Nathan’s hot dog wrapped in a pretzel bun—contains almost half your daily upper limit of fat and sodium.
One Jumbo Pretzel Dog with butter: 610 calories; 29g fat, 13g saturated; 1,150mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Go for the original pretzel without the butter and salt and you’ll whittle your treat down to 310 calories and only 1 gram of fat. Now that’s more like a snack!
The luring scent of Cinnabon is a mall staple. But just one of these decadent pastries means trouble. They deliver about half the calories and just about all the fat you should consume in a day.
One bun: 1,092 calories, 56g fat, 47g sugar.
Choose this instead: Cinnabon has no options that are particularly healthy, but you can try a Minibon, designed for smaller—and smarter—appetites: 300 calories, 11g fat.
6. Wendy’s Sweet and Spicy Boneless Wings
In June, Wendy’s launched this item, claiming it was “as far as it gets from fast food.”
Calorie-wise, this meal isn’t that bad if it makes up your entire lunch. But it has more salt than you should have in a day, let alone at one sitting.
One order: 550 calories, 18g fat, 27g sugar, 2,530mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Try the Ultimate Chicken Grill, a grilled chicken breast on a sesame-seed bun: 320 calories, 7g fat, 8g sugar. Still, with 950 milligrams of sodium, don’t make it a daily habit.
Muffins are often mistaken for the doughnut’s healthy cousin. But muffins can be surprisingly high in fat.
This one is particularly offensive; you’d need to eat about three glazed donuts to match its nutrients and calories.
One muffin: 620 calories; 25g fat, 7g saturated; 54g sugar; 93g carbs.
Choose this instead: For an alternative—but equally decadent—breakfast treat, one glazed donut is a better bet: 220 calories, 9g fat, 12g sugar, 31g carbs.
8. Olive Garden’s Grilled Shrimp Caprese
Shrimp are low-fat, low-cal, and high in protein and iron. What’s not to like?
In fact, the garlic-butter sauce in this dish helps rack up nearly two-thirds of your daily fat and about one and a half times your sodium limit.
One plate: 900 calories, 41g fat, 3,490mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Get a lighter version of this dish without the melted cheese and with marinara sauce on the side. The Venetian Apricot Chicken is another option; it has one-third the calories and 1/10 the fat, but still packs a good deal of sodium.
Diners and bloggers alike were outraged by the fried-onion Chili’s appetizer, the Awesome Blossom.
The unhealthy behemoth was removed from the menu, but its replacement is only a bit better. This appetizer is meant to be shared, but even one-quarter of the dish delivers an entire day’s limit for fat.
One appetizer: 2,130 calories; 213g fat, 31g saturated; 1,320mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Chili’s doesn’t have particularly healthy appetizers. If you must have one, try the Chips and Hot Sauce (470 calories). However, the chips’ sodium is 2,790 milligrams—500 milligrams over the maximum daily intake.
10. Macaroni Grill’s Kids’ Fettuccine Alfredo
Kids’ meals, in theory, are smaller than adult portions; children simply don’t need as many calories.
The average 10- to 12-year-old, the upper age limit for many kids’ menus, needs about 1,600 to 1,800 calories daily. This meal puts them at half of that, with more fat than a grown adult needs in a day.
One order: 890 calories, 67g fat, 1,480mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Coax your little ones into ordering the Grilled Chicken and Broccoli: 390 calories, 8g fat. It’s still high in sodium, so ask for sauce on the side and use sparingly.
Unhealthy salads lurk everywhere. They promise grilled chicken, leafy greens, and fewer carbs, but often deliver bacon, cheddar cheese, and high-fat dressing.
Don’t be tricked; this salad will cost you half a day’s calories. The dressing alone has 48 grams of fat, nearly your daily max.
One salad, dressing and bread included: 1,070 calories, 71g fat, 1,770mg sodium.
Choose this instead: The Cantina Chicken Sammie, a 205-calorie, low-fat, veggie-filled flatbread sandwich: 455mg sodium, 12g protein.
12. Pizza Hut’s Meaty P’Zone
The TV commercials for this 1-pound monster feature hungry dudes who don’t want to share. One chows down and tells another, who looks on longingly, to order his own. But these pizza-crust calzones should be shared—preferably with a crowd. Eating the whole thing is akin to consuming about six cheese slices in one sitting, and it delivers one and a half times your daily limit for sodium. One serving size is one-half of a P’Zone.
One whole P’Zone: 1,480 calories, 66g fat, 3,680mg sodium.
Choose this instead: One slice of the Natural Veggie Lover’s multigrain crust pizza has 190 calories, 6g fat, 380 mg sodium, and 9g protein.
Ideally, a lunch box should strike a balance between taste, fun, and nutrition.
However, an easy prepackaged solution like Lunchables may not deliver. The nutrition info is based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet—that of a grown adult. The processed food is too high in fat and sodium for the average 8-year-old’s daily recommended intakes.
One Fun Pack: 470 calories, 20g fat, 880mg sodium.
Choose this instead: For the same ease, try another variety of Wholesome Lunchables, like the Turkey and Cheddar Club, which comes with water and applesauce instead of cookies and fruit punch, and has 360 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium.
14. Ruffles’ Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips
Ruffles don’t just have ridges, they’ve also have 17% of the upper limit of daily fat in just one serving. The calorie count is low, but chances are you’ll eat more than a serving, as most packages are the larger 1.5-ounce size.
The 1-ounce serving size: 160 calories, 11g fat, 230mg sodium. The larger size: 240 calories, 16.5g fat, 345mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Try Baked! Ruffles in the original flavor. The 1-ounce serving has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 200 milligrams of sodium, plus 2 grams each of fiber and protein.
Frozen yogurt is often relatively healthy; even the most decadent flavors tend to have less fat than ice cream.
However, not all fro-yo is created equal. To be fair, this flavor does have 15 grams less fat than the regular ice cream flavor, but one serving packs 25 grams of sugar.
One serving (1/2 cup): 190 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g sugar, 35g carbs.
Choose this instead: Try a brand that offers no-sugar-added options, such as Edy’s. The French Vanilla flavor has only 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of sugar in a 1/2 cup serving.
16. Kar’s Yogurt Apple Nut Mix
Words like yogurt, apple, and nut make this snack seem healthy. But a serving size is 1 ounce. The tiny snack, often found in vending machines, contains nearly three times as much—2.75 ounces. Bags in stores contain five times as much.
Eat a whole 2.75-ounce bag and you’ve consumed 412 calories—the equivalent of one and a half Snickers bars.
A 1-ounce serving: 150 calories; 10g of fat, 2.5g saturated; 90mg sodium; 3g protein; 2g fiber.
Choose this instead: Select a healthier trail mix, like Peeled Snacks. A 2/3-cup serving of the Fruit & Nuts FigSated mix has 150 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Don’t fall for the “whole grain” marketing trick without knowing all the facts.
While “whole grain” sounds good, this product doesn’t have nearly the amount of heart-healthy whole grains as products that say “100% whole grain.”
Two slices: 220 calories, 3g fat, 300mg sodium, 42g carbs, 4g fiber.
Choose this instead: Try two slices of Arnold’s Light line of breads, like the 100% Whole Wheat: 80 calories, 0.5g fat, 170mg sodium, 5g fiber. Or try the new Deli Flats from Pepperidge Farm. One 100% whole-wheat roll has 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber.
18. Reese’s Puffs Cereal
Starting your morning off with this bowl of sugary puffs may be worse than getting up on the wrong side of the bed. One serving of this breakfast treat has more sugar than an actual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
A 3/4 cup serving with 1/2 cup skim milk: 160 calories, 3g fat, 12g sugar. (One Reese’s Cup has 7 grams of sugar.)
Choose this instead: For an organic and natural take on the peanut-buttery puff, check out EnviroKidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs from Nature’s Path. The same serving size with milk has slightly more calories, but less sugar: 170 calories, 2.5g fat, 7g sugar.
At least breakfast cereals have relatively easy-to-understand serving sizes. Pop-Tarts, on the other hand, report nutrition information for one serving, but each package contains two—and is impossible to reseal.
Eat both, and this breakfast delivers a quarter of your daily limit for fat, and more than half your added sugar for the day.
Two pastries: 420 calories, 16g fat, 26g sugar, 66g carbs.
Choose this instead: Your best bet is to eat just one pastry. Or you can try Fiber One’s Brown Sugar Cinnamon Toaster Pastry: 190 calories, 4g fat, 16g sugar, 36g carbs, 5g fiber.
20. PowerBar Performance Energy Cookies & Cream
PowerBars are often shaped like candy bars and can taste like them too.
This particular PowerBar has only 1 gram of fiber and nearly three-fourths of the upper limit of daily added sugar, so there may be healthier options. (The USDA says to limit added sugar to 40 grams, or about 10 teaspoons, per day.)
One bar: 240 calories, 26g sugar, 45g carbs, 8g protein, less than 1g fiber.
Choose this instead: Try the PowerBar Harvest line. Made with whole grains, 1 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie bar still has 250 calories, 43 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of sugar, but offers 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
This meal is better than a TV dinner, but there are healthier options from this generally trustworthy brand.
The calories are reasonable, but the meal is high in sugar and sodium, and it has more fat than most other Healthy Choice options—even the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and the Country Breaded Chicken!
One meal: 400 calories, 13g protein, 5g fiber—but 10g fat, 20g sugar, 500mg sodium.
Choose this instead: The Oven Roasted Chicken meal: 260 calories, 5g fat, 9g sugar, 520mg sodium, 15g protein, 6g fiber.
VitaminWater uses the old trick in which the nutrition information on the label is based on a serving size, but the bottle contains multiple servings—leaving you to do the math.
Each bottle contains 2.5 servings of the sugar-sweetened water, so a whole bottle delivers 33 grams of sugar (a can of Coke only has 6 more). That’s a lot of calories when plain water could do the trick.
One bottle (2.5 servings) of the Charge flavor: 125 calories, 32.5g sugar.
Choose this instead: New VitaminWater10 has only 10 calories per serving, or 25 if you finish the bottle. But it contains zero-calorie sweeteners.
Granola is tricky. Although the name is practically synonymous with healthy, some types—including this cereal—contain a startling amount of sugar per serving. One serving contains 18 grams of sugar, as much as a Twinkie.
A 2/3-cup serving: 210 calories, 3g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber—but 18g sugar.
Choose this instead: A 2/3-cup serving of Health Valley’s Low Fat Date Almond Flavor Granola: 180 calories, 1g fat, 10g sugar, 5g protein, 6g fiber.
24. Bear Naked Chocolaty Cherry Grain-ola Bar
We love Bear Naked for its generally low-fat, low-sugar concoctions, but we just can’t get behind this bar.
It has almost the same nutritional stats as a Hershey’s Sweet and Salty Reese’s Peanut Butter bar. Or you could eat almost three Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bars for the same intake.
One 54-gram bar: 230 calories, 10g fat, 14g sugar.
Choose this instead: Barbara’s Crunch Organic Oats and Honey Granola Bar; two bars have only 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 10 grams of sugar.
Generally we love anything from this vegetarian brand, but we have to draw the line at this soup. While packed with veggies and protein-powerhouse tofu, one serving has more than half of your daily limit of saturated fat and a quarter of your sodium.
One 1/2-can serving: 140 calories; 10g fat, 8g saturated; 580mg sodium.
Choose this instead: Lentil Vegetable, one of Amy’s low-sodium soups, is still chock-full of veggies and protein, but with less fat and sodium: 4g fat, 0.5g saturated fat; 340mg sodium.
Copyright © 2012 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Fast food has become a regular way of life for many people. Recent controversy over how unhealthy fast food is has led many individuals to start looking for effective ways to break their fast food habits. Regardless of why you indulge in your fast food addiction, it is important to understand that you can break the habit if you are willing to really put the effort in.
Examine Your Eating Habits
Step 1: Assess how often you stop at fast food places.
- A) Is it every day or several times per week?
- B) Do you find that your on-the-go lifestyle lands you in the fast food drive-thru more than once per day?
Step 2: Consider what time of day you are stopping at fast food restaurants.
- A) Do you grab a quick bite during your lunch break?
- B) Do you pick up a meal on your way home from work because so you don’t have to go home and make dinner?
- C) Does your morning routine include a fast food stop for breakfast on your way to work?
- D) Do you experience late night cravings that prompt you to get in your car and drive to the closest fast food place?
Step 3: Think about why you make the fast food stops. Identifying the underlying cause for your fast food addiction is an important step in breaking the habit.
Step 1: Review your examination of your habits to determine whether you have an addition. Like just about any addiction out there, it is important to first recognize and understand that you do in fact have an addiction. Without acknowledging that there is a problem, you cannot get the help you need.
Step 2: Accept the fact that you may need to alter your eating habits.
Step 3: Acknowledge that you may have a bigger problem than you realized. For some people, it is an actual physical or physiological addiction that may require much more effort to curb rather than just accepting and altering diet and eating habits.
Step 1: Begin adding up all of the money that you spend on fast food. Try saving the receipts for a few weeks or pay only with a debit card so that you can total your fast food expenses. Chances are that you will be surprised to see how much money you are actually spending. Consider how much you may be able to save by purchasing food that you can prepare yourself at home.
Step 2: Count all of the calories that you are consuming in the foods that you purchase from fast food places. Compare the ways that you can cut back on calories by preparing your own meals at home.
Step 3: Examine what foods you are craving. Do you have a strong desire for cheesy products, dairy items, or red meats? If certain foods seem to be on your list of must-haves, it may be your body’s way of telling you that it needs that particular ingredient. This can be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency or from poor nutrition.
Step 4: Keep track of how often you are craving specific items. If there seems to be a pattern, you may want to discuss it with your health care provider in order to rule out any possible deficiencies.
Plan A Strategy
Step 1: Consider how you will fulfill your needs once you stop frequenting fast food places. Plan out what foods you will purchase from the supermarket to replace your fast food meals.
Step 2: Look at exactly what foods you are buying. Chances are that there are healthier options available for just about everything you are eating. Take the time to read and compare the food labels in order to choose the healthiest option available. It may be time consuming at first, but once you come to learn what the best choices are, shopping healthy will really be no different than your usual trip to the market. Keep in mind that the fresher the item, the more nutrition it offers.
Step 3: Alter your normal purchases by changing things up and opting for healthy snacks. In order to incorporate the healthiest options, you need to replace that bag of chips with a bag of nuts.
Step 4: Expect possible withdrawal symptoms when you stop eating certain foods or ingredients. Removing excess sugar from the body can leave you feeling tired. Lack of caffeine when the body is accustomed to it can lead to a headache. Know that your body will adjust to the change after several days.
Step 1: Begin by removing soda from your beverage intake. For many individuals, this may prove to be the biggest challenge. Avoid all forms of soda. Diet and caffeine- free sodas are not really any better for you than regular soda. If this step proves to be very difficult, start off slowly. Begin decreasing the amount of soda you consume by replacing a few drinks here and there with a healthier option. Continue substituting other drinks for your soda until you are able to eliminate soda entirely.
Step 2: Stop bringing unhealthy snacks into your home. Replace as much junk food snacks as you can with healthy options. By incorporating new choices and eating them often, you are allowing your tastes to adjust to new flavors. You may actually come to have some new favorite snacks that are good for you.
Form New Habits
Step 1: Carry healthy snacks and drinks with you. Remember that you are trying to take the edge off your hunger. You do not want your snack to be your meal. If this proves to be a challenge for you, try bringing along a limited amount to snack on.
- A) Keep healthy, convenient snacks such as nuts or trail mix in the car.
- B) Purchase a small cooler if necessary. This is a great way to avoid a stop at a fast food place. Keeping it stocked with some yogurt, fresh fruits or carrots and ranch dip can help you to control your hunger until you are able to get home for your meal.
Step 2: Limit your indulgences. If you absolutely must have something that you know is not really good for you, try to keep the portion size small. Purchasing a single portion size rather than an entire box can be effective.
- A) If it is not possible to purchase small sizes and you are forced to buy a large portion, eat only a small amount and toss the rest out. You will want to eat it if you see that it is still available.
Step 3: Stay away from all-you-can-eat offers. Many individuals find that it is too difficult to avoid overindulging. Many people think that they have to get their money’s worth and choose to eat until they are so full that it is actually uncomfortable. All-you-can-eat buffets make most people want to sample a little bit of everything. This almost always leads to eating much more food than is reasonable.
Step 4: Stick to your plan and don’t give up just because you are having a hard time. An occasional lapse is no reason to beat yourself up. If you fall off the wagon, try again and get back on track with a bit more effort this time. It does get easier as time goes on.
- Slowly eliminating one unhealthy food at a time is a gentle way to start cutting junk food out of your diet. Going cold turkey and cutting out all unhealthy food items at once can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as headaches and irritability, and makes you less likely to stick to your plan.
- If you and your friends are addicted to fast food, you can all give it up together. This way you will have less temptation than if your friends are chomping away on burgers in front of you. You may look into groups or networks of healthy people to surround yourself with to provide support through this important stage of life.
- Recommended reading: “Fast Food Nation”, by Eric Schlosser. This book gives you a sense of fast food’s effect on your health, and also its effects on the global economy, agriculture, immigrants, etc. You’ll think about this book when you feel tempted to go to the drive-through.
- Consider setting rules for yourself that will make fast food less convenient. For example, if your favorite fast food place is a long way away, only allow yourself to buy fast food if you walk there instead of driving. Not only will you get a healthy walk in if you do give in to the craving, but it will make cooking your own meal seem easier than the fast, greasy alternative.
- Putting some numbers to your fast food habit might make the reality sink in. Estimate or keep track of how much money you spend and how many calories you consume each week or month on fast food–it will shock you.
- Don’t treat this (or any dieting) a punishment or a hardship, otherwise your regimen will never last. The trick is to replace something that you may like with something healthy that you will like even more. Make this switch slowly, one piece at a time (for example, start by laying off the food court at lunchtime, or avoiding snacks between meals.) Make a small, but real change, and then move on to something more ambitious. Remember that you want this to be an entirely new lifestyle.
Vegetarianism is not viewed to me as just a diet, but a different way of thinking, a different lifestyle. My overall goal is to share the passion of healthy living as well as to make this healthy lifestyle known to as many people as I possibly can. So join me today and become a part of the reasons. Reasons To Become A Vegetarian – No matter what type of Vegetarian you choose to be!
1. Live Longer
Numerous University studies have found that vegetarians live about seven years longer than non-vegetarians, and vegans live on average about 15 years longer than meat eaters. Studies such as these are further confirmed by the Chinese Health Project, which is the largest population study on diet and health to date. The Chinese Health Study found Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risk of heart attack, cancer, and other serious diseases.
In addition to this, proof comes from a British research group that tracked 6,000 Vegetarians and 5,000 meat eaters for 12 years to find that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer during that time and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases. See the Vegetarian FAQ!
2. You’ll make regular visits to the restroom
Veggies are the best source for fiber, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat contains no fiber and collects against the walls of the digestive tract, which can lead to colon cancer. Studies done at Harvard and Brigham Women’s Hospital concluded that people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 42 percent lower risk of diverticulitis. People who eat a high percentage of vegetables in their diets also tend to have fewer counts of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colons.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidant nutrients that protect the heart and the arteries. Fruits and vegetables contain no saturated fat or cholesterol.
The cholesterol levels for vegetarians are on average 14 percent lower than meat eaters. The American diet that is loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol from meat and dairy have made heart disease the number one killer in the United States.
4. Avoid toxic chemicals
95% of pesticide residue in the Western diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Seafood, in particular, contain carcinogens (PCBs, DDT) and heavy metals (mercury, arsenic; lead, cadmium) that cannot be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones that are injected into the animals to combat disease.
5. You will give your body a detox
Fruit and vegetable juices contain phytochemicals that help our bodies detoxify naturally. Giving up meat helps rid the body of toxins (environmental pollutants, pesticides, and preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness. Many of these additives cannot be assimilated and pool in various parts of the body.
6. Great Looking Body And Skinnier
A great reason to become Vegetarian is on average, most vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters. Vegetarian diets are much lower in calories than the standard American diet. Vegetarians are also less likely to suffer from weight-related disorders like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Vegetarian FAQ!
7. Save Lot’s of Money
By replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits, it is estimated to cut your food bill by an average of $4,000 a year.
8. Be environmental friendly
By being a Vegetarian you will help reduce waste and air pollution. A farms in Milford, Utah, which raises 2.5 million pigs yearly, produces more waste than the entire city of Los Angeles. And this is just one farm. Each year, our nation’s factory farms, collectively produce 2 billion tons of manure, a substance that’s rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the country’s top 10 pollutants. And that is not even taking in to account the amount of methane gas released by cows, pigs and poultry, which contributes to the greenhouse effect); the ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to raise feed for animals.
Right now, 72% of all the grain that is produced in the United States is fed to animals, which are raised for slaughter. It takes about 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if this same grain was given directly to people, there would be enough food to feed the entire planet. Using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal of Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef. You do the math!
10. Its The Humane Thing To Do
Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
FYI – Did you know that 22 million animals are slaughtered to support the American appetite for meat? It is a great feeling to finish a healthy meal knowing that no beings have suffered.
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