Everybody always asks me what foods to avoid in restaurants and markets. But what about the contents of your own cupboards and refrigerator? Do they hold healthy, wholesome choices for you and your family? Here are 10 to throw out of your kitchen pantry and frig — and suggestions for healthier substitutions:
1. Sugar Drinks . This means soda pop, sweetened tea and fruit-flavored punch drinks. Each 12-ounce can of pop has about 7 teaspoons of sugar and about 140 calories. Drink water instead.
2. Processed meats. Also sausage and bacon. They're high in fat and sodium — even those that say "lower" or "reduced." Use leftover lean meat, chicken or fish for sandwiches.
3. White bread, white pasta. Choose whole grain for more fiber. Look for the term "100% whole grain" on the label.
4. Spreadable Peanut Butter. Choose organic brands. They are harder to spread because they do not contain the hydrogenated oils which makes margarine and peanut butter “spreadable”. Also try Almond butter, cashew butter, and sesame butter for added nutritional value.
5. Whole milk. Skip dairy products with "whole" on the packages. Look for "low-fat" instead. ALso try non dairy products like soy milk, almond milk, or rice dream.
6. Canned or instant soup. They're pricey and loaded with salt. Choose organic, low sodium versions or make your own.
7. Junk food snacks. Chips, crackers. Anything that comes in a bag or box. If they're in your kitchen they'll end up in your mouth. They may be labeled “organic” "low-fat" or "trans fat-free," but they still have plenty of salt and calories. Think fruit and veggies for snacks..
8. White rice. Go for brown rice, wild rice or quinoa. Replacing white rice with brown rice or other whole grains, such as whole wheat and barley, can lower your risk for many diseases
9. Flavored Yogurt (vanilla or fruit flavored) — These products are loaded with fat and sugar. Choose plain, low-fat yogurt and add your own fruit. I prefer greek yogurt for the lowest sugar content.
10. Processed cheese. "Cheese food," "cheese spread" and "cheese product" usually mean lots of fat and salt — and in some instances no cheese! Go for the real thing, but remember that moderation is key. 1 ounce of cheese has 180 calories and 17 grams of fat. 1 ounce is equal to four dice in size.
That's my list of food to avoid. What's on your list?