Eating in the modern world can be difficult owing to genetic modifications, chemical treatments, and improper eating practices. Sometimes compromising is necessary when it comes to food choices, but still, there are some food items that food nutritionists would never let touch their lips owing to their harmful impact on health and weight.
But it doesn't mean you can't eat out.
Any type of social hangout like going out for movies, dinner, coffee, date with loved ones, etc. is incomplete without food. But if you are watching your weight or just are concerned with healthy eating, dining out can be a challenge. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at every restaurant, even at fast-food places, that you can eat to lose weight and stay healthy.
Just as there are some healthy foods that you should eat every day, there is a matching list of foods you should not eat. Such foods can seem very tasty or nutritious or both, but they may be laced with unwanted components like sugar and fats that can cause you enough harm.
Putting on some weight or having a sluggish metabolism rate are just two of the consequences- you can also fall ill by eating such foods in an unmoderated amount. The worse is possible if you are already overweight or obese or if you have excess belly fat (BMI >30) and if you are a compulsive eater.
Here’s the list of unhealthy foods that you should stay away from:-
Those colorful breakfast cereals which you consider good for your health are highly processed, have a high GI because of the high and hidden sugar content (which causes your blood sugars to drop very quickly after eating them), high in sodium, and high in preservatives. The only piece of advice we can offer to you is that you should stay away from them- they can make you put on some weight rather quickly.
Alternatives: Quinoa porridge or homemade gluten-free granola.
The key ingredients used in this product are sugar and preservatives. As one of the unhealthiest foods for kids, peanut butter is also known to cause obesity among young children because it is rich in fats. It is healthy but its excess can quickly make the matters worse for you.
Alternatives: 100% nut butter found in health food stores or a health foods section of grocery stores. E.g.:- Almond butter or ABC (Almond, Brazil nut, and Cashew) nut butter.
No, how could nuts and cashews be unhealthy? You must be mistaken- except that we are not.
As a nutritionist, we should avoid salted nuts because the sodium content in them is sky-high. This can cause abnormal spikes in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Talking of unhealthy food effects, excess salt can cause severe heart risks in people of all age groups.
Alternatives: Raw and activated nuts and seeds.
Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with growth hormones to boost milk production. Not only does this increase the production but it also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to increased levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk.
Alternatives: Organic milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk.
Vegetable oils contain processed trans-fats. The latter increase in LDL, the bad type of cholesterol that may lead to bad heart health. Most of the deep-fried foods termed unhealthy for kids are cooked in vegetable oils.
Since young children prefer the taste to nutrition, they are also the ones to pay for it with their health and fitness. As a professional nutritionist, we would not suggest you even buy vegetable oils. You could rather go with the following alternatives for better results.
Alternatives: Coconut oil, olive oil
There’s tons of hidden salt and sugar in canned edibles! The insides of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic toxin linked to heart ailments, diabetes, and obesity. One may experience unhealthy food effects like a weakened immune system and irregular blood sugar levels soon after eating canned foods.
Alternatives: Fresh and organic vegetables and fruits.
PS: If you do not like vegetables, here’s a smarter way to eat them. You can incorporate these delicacies in your regular meals because they are both delicious and nutritious.
The less said, the better. Artificial sugars and foods made of them always top the list of foods not to eat when trying to lose weight and for reasons more than one. Curbing the desire to eat sweets is not always good, but you should not jump to eat foods made of artificial sugars just for the sake of it.
Alternatives: Rice malt syrup, maple syrup, dates, raw honey (in small amounts).
Margarine is high in “bad fats” also known as trans-fats. These are fats formed during the hydrogenation process (which turns liquid vegetable oils into solids). This would also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and increase your bad cholesterol (LDL), even though it should be the other way around. This can affect your weight loss plans by a huge margin and can leave you with heart risks.
Alternatives: Organic butter, coconut butter, or avocado
Processed meat is taken from the animals that are given growth hormones, antibiotics, and veterinary drugs. They are raised in deplorable conditions that are not good for their health or genes. These meats are also filled with chemical flavorings and dyes like sodium nitrite, thus completely negating any health benefits.
Alternatives: Meat of grass-fed animals
So if you are serious about losing weight and maintaining good health, you should stay away from these unhealthy foods. Here’s more on our coverage regarding ‘how to stay healthy?’ by adopting a healthy and fitness-savvy diet, as told by our online wellness experts.
By following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy eating out and still have a healthy diet. So here are a few of the smart choices that you can make to avoid being antisocial and keep weight loss practices on the right path.
If you are going for a coffee with your friend or colleague, you can make it worthy and harmless for your diet regime. Sometimes you feel that it’s just a coffee and it’s ok to take it, but NO. Cappuccino or Frappe may be as heavy as a meal, and they are loaded with added sugar and fats.
This makes them high on calories and while you could use them before workouts as high-energy foods, you should not get addicted to them.
Order a black coffee or a green tea instead of a latte or a whole fat cappuccino. If you want to use a creamer, then ask for almond milk or soy milk rather than taking a whole fat creamer.
If you like to have something cold, have an iced coffee with stevia or treat yourself to a cup of Mocha without sugar.
If you want to munch on something, avoid high-fat muffins/cakes/biscotti’s and opt for nuts!
We all love watching movies. Here are some smart ways to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary calories, provided you can keep away from eating junk foods and drink cola drinks that are served at the theaters.
If you prefer popcorn bake din butter, then you should not take more than 2 handfuls. Instead of nachos and cheese, you could get yourself something else like a low-fat frozen yogurt (if there is any healthy option). Avoid hot dogs and go for no cheese/butter sandwiches and foods with empty calories like cola drinks. You may instead opt for plain water.
Now, restaurants and hotels are the trickiest places where all your week’s effort can go in vain in minutes. So let me highlight some healthier options, which could be a great help to save your weight loss efforts:
Usually, the evening or the afternoon starts with drinks. So make sure your drinks are not loaded with sodas or any type of sugar syrups. Instead have sparkling water or a fresh lime with soda. Staying away from the list of unhealthy foods (as mentioned above) would help too.
At a Chinese restaurant, order a clear soup (vegetables/chicken) with no MSG or order some steamed veggies. Also, if you like dim sum, relish their taste as well but keep the quantity in mind (have 2 pieces).
At a Japanese restaurant, order yourself a miso soup and some sushi. They are a complete meal in themselves and are so satiating that you can jump straight to the desserts and skip the main course.
At a Mexican restaurant, have soup and some guacamole with some chips.
At an Italian restaurant, have some nice broth soup as it has few calories in comparison to the other creamy soups. You can have some crostini with no cheese or a salad with dressing on the side.
At an Indian restaurant, have a dal soup, chicken tikka, or paneer tikka. Avoid the kebabs as they are loaded with fats.
Some of the super healthy and extremely delicious options for the sides are as under:
Instead of fries, go for sautéing veggies.
Ask for steamed broccoli seasoned with salt and pepper as they are yummy.
Order jacket potato with some salsa.
Suggested article: Here’s a unique case study on how to start your day with a healthy schedule and better eating habits.
Chinese/Thai main course choices – steamed brown rice/white rice with veggies or chicken. Avoid lamb!
Japanese main course can be again some rice & veggies. Mexican cuisine healthier choices can include burrito without the cheese. Italian food lovers can enjoy pizza with less cheese and lots of veggies, no sauce pasta with vegetables/olive oil. Avoid high cheese and cream main course options like lasagna.
Indian main course choices can include dal tadka with some rice or a chicken gravy without ghee or cream. Another option that can be opted for is a tandoori roti with some low-fat palak paneer.
Go light on the main course options as desserts are yet to come!
One should never curb the desire for desserts because there are often a wide number of healthy choices available. Don’t forget to follow the sharing rule while enjoying desserts- have a spoon or two rather than having the whole portion. Here are a few safe choices:
A plate of fresh fruits.
Low-fat yogurt topped with fruits.
Granita or sorbets.
Weight loss is a continuous process that requires conscious efforts. Merely staying away from the list of adverse foods or resisting alcohol alone won’t cut it, you would also need to work on your fitness every day. We recommend consulting an online fitness coach for a personalized overview of your case.
By opting for these smart health-centric choices, you can effectively balance your health and social lifestyles. Losing weight is easy and you could have your occasional way outs. You can always choose to be an inspiration for others if you keep at your health goals every day.
Remember that cheating with your diet once a while is OKAY but if you make some lifestyle changes, the journey of weight loss becomes easier and more fun. Cheers!
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