I can ask any number of people I come in contact with a day if they are on a diet and chances are the answer is “yes”. I can also ask them what they are doing on their “diet” and they will go on to tell me all the foods they are trying to cut out. Unfortunately a diet is just that, a diet. it doesn’t mean you are restricting yourself to certain foods, it means it’s your consistent everyday eating habit. One may have a diet consisting of healthy foods and one may have a diet consisting of junk food, but none the less we all have a diet, we are not ON A diet. (I really hate this word.) I checked the dictionary to just double check and it says, DIET : food and drink regularly provided or consumed. I think the key word here is “regularly”. Now the English language of course has allowed us to play with this word a bit so we use it to convey all sorts of messages but in its true meaning, it is simply what you eat, regularly. With that said, the food packaging industry has taken advantage of this (we are all on a diet thing) and has made millions of dollars and its simply because we are really unaware of what’s healthy and what’s not. Things like, “low calorie” and “lite” have made such an impact to our obesity numbers, it’s an atrocity that most of us still haven’t caught on. Here’s a list of five popular foods that we think are part of a healthy diet. Some of these you may already know but others may shock you!
Caesar Salad: Just a small bowl of this stuff can have 300-400 calories, and between the croutons, Parmesan and dressing, the fat content can be 30 grams or more!
Fast Fix: Try only 1tbs of dressing and 2tbs of Parmesan cheese.
Enhanced Water: The vitamins put in water often times aren’t contributing much but the calories are. Some companies put a whopping 25 grams of sugar. The label reads 50 calories per serving and your bottle of enhanced water quickly adds up to as much as a 150 calories.
Fast Fix: Make a pitcher of water with strawberries and lemons tossed in. Or some crystallized lemon. (I’m not talking about crystal lite here either.)
2% Milk: I know we all think that 2% milk is better but lets compare:
Whole Milk 1 cup= 150 cal, 8g fat, 5g sat. fat
2% Milk 1 cup= 130 cal, 5g fat, 3g sat. fat
Skim/nonfat 1 cup= 80 cal, 0g fat, 0g sat fat
Fast Fix: If you’re going to drink milk try and wean off the fat stuff. Try mixing some skim with your whole milk and slowly-up the ratio from whole to skim until you are used to the taste.
Banana Chips: Just because this is a crunchy version of one of your favorite fruits doesn’t make this healthy. Banana chips are fried and usually sprinkled with sugar, honey or salt. 1 oz can have 145 calories, 9g of fat and 8g of sat. fat.
Fast Fix: Just eat a regular banana or try freezing some slices for a healthy snack.
Turkey Over Pork or Beef: This here is a tricky one that requires more than a line or two for an explanation so hang in there with me. About seven or eight years ago we all started to look for healthier alternatives for our meats, especially when it came to bacon and hot dogs. So we stocked up on turkey products instead. Then we heard that the regular stuff is better for you, so which one is it? Well really it’s neither. You have to turn over the package of the foods you eat and start reading labels. There will be turkey bacon out there that has more sodium and fat than regular bacon, but remember there’s also the reverse. Be smart here and look for a different brand or a different cut of meat. Also pay attention to serving size. There’s no fast fix for this. It may be some work in the beginning but your health is worth the extra five minutes put into picking out the better packaged food.
I know this may be a lot to take in for some of you and for others these are no brainers. The most important thing though is that we all take some time to educate ourselves about what we eat and how we eat. It could mean those 10 lbs you’re trying to lose, or the lowering of your cholesterol. Take some time and love yourself from the inside out and I promise you will notice a difference!