It is said that you should eat to live and not live to eat. Though both of these may seem like extremes, it goes without saying that maintaining a certain level of mediocrity in your food habits goes a long way keeping you healthy. We all live very fast lives and people living in cities find that they have less and less time to dedicate to cooking elaborate and healthy meals for their families. Another fact is that people also have a larger amount of disposable income and this gives them the freedom to eat out more often.
Foods to Avoid
It’s no surprise then that eating out is becoming more of a norm and no one thinks twice about grabbing some street or fast food and opting for ready-to-cook meals against using fresh ingredients. Let’s take a look at some foods that you should definitely be staying away from:
- Processed Meat– Consumption of meats that have been preserved by curing, smoking or salting/ ones that contain any amount of chemical preservative is directly linked to higher colon cancer risk. All these products are loaded with fat, cholesterol and salt and they have almost no nutrients such as fiber.
- Doughnuts– Today it is very easy to find doughnut chain stores in malls everywhere and the products that are sold there are nothing less than calorie bombs which are also laden with the most unhealthy ingredients. They are packed with sugar, trans fat & refined flour and a single doughnut can have upto 500 empty calories
- Potato Chips– Everyone knows that potato chips are filled with “bad carbs” which go straight to your waistline. Potato fries and French Fries have a known carcinogen, acrylamide which gets formed when foods are either fried or baked at extremely high temperatures
- Low-Fat Foods– Those who feel that they are opting for health when they choose to eat “low fat” labeled foods like salad dressings, yogurt, cookies etc, should know that all these products are filled with a variety of unhealthy ingredients. The best way for them to make up for the blandness is to compensate it by adding salt, sugar & unhealthy filers. It’s a much better option to eat smaller portions of real food instead
- Margarine– People get fooled into thinking that they are opting for a low-cal substitute to butter, when they opt for margarine. But the fact is that the latter is filled with Trans fats that tends to up cholesterol levels and they end up damaging the walls of blood vessels. Again, give the fake stuff a miss and use olive oil and other monounsaturated fats instead
- Soda– An average glassful or bottle of soda contains 10-20 teaspoons of sugar and it’s one of the easiest ways of packing the pounds. Drinking even upto 2 sodas per week doubles an individual’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Consume more than 2.5 of any sugary sodas/day and you significantly increase the risk of death from a cardiovascular disease & risk of getting diabetes.
- Whole Milk– Whole milk is filled with saturated fat which increases bad cholesterol levels, contributes to clogged arteries and promotes inflammation. The best way to continue getting the right nutrients from milk sans the fat is to switch to skimmed or fat-free milk. These still have all the calcium, protein, potassium and Vitamin D you need, but much less fat. You can also opt for soy milk if you prefer
- Pizza– very few people can resist an aromatic and fresh pizza topped with melted cheese. Sure, it tastes great, but when you opt for the deep-dish base, it dramatically increases the calorie count on your plate. Even eating 2 medium slices of pizza will end up shocking your system with around 1,300 calories.
Making the Right Choice
Interestingly, we all know what the healthy food options are, but tend to fail in the implementation phase and give-in to temptation or opt for convenience over health. The latter is always a matter of choice and the minute you start stocking your refrigerator with fresh foods and opt for real foods over processed ones, you will find yourself eating better and living healthier.