Are you sure that meal or snack you’re about to eat is a smart choice? Even if you’re trying to eat clean, there may still be surprising amounts of sugar, salt and calories in foods sabotaging your best diet intentions. The good news is, even if you have been inadvertently making less than optimal choices, there are many healthier alternatives.
At the Barbecue
Don’t rack up a plate-load of ribs loaded with fat and calories. A four ounce serving has 370 calories and 30 grams of fat – not even counting the BBQ sauce. Pick grilled chicken breast instead – a four ounce portion has 186 calories and only four grams of fat.
Toss the fattening Italian pasta salad – just a one cup serving can have over 300 calories, 18 grams of fat and 1,300 mg of sodium. Pick corn on the cob instead with just 120 calories per one large ear – and because it’s a whole grain, you can also get B-vitamins.
Treats & Energizers
Put that popsicle with little nutritional value sweetened with sugar back in the freezer and pick frozen fruits instead with the added value of vitamins and minerals.
Pour out the coffee and pick low-fat plain yogurt for an afternoon pick-me-up instead. A one-cup serving has 11 grams of protein and 16 grams of carbs that can make you feel full and energized. Avoid fruit on the bottom yogurts that can have as much as 10 tablespoons of sugar in an 8 ounce portion.
Kick the sugar-high habit of drinking fruit smoothies that can be loaded with sugar and pick a protein shake made with a cup of low fat milk and a scoop of protein powder instead…Add a handful of frozen berries for the perfect blend of low-glycemic carbs and high quality protein.
Think twice before eating high-glycemic white rice. Pick brown rice or soybeans with pearled barley instead – this nutrient packed side dish containing fiber, B vitamins and protein is considered both low-glycemic and high protein.
Pass up the pasta and pick Quinoa – a great whole grain with a complete amino acid profile unlike most other grains. One cup cooked packs in 15 percent of your daily requirement for energizing iron and 5 grams of fiber.
Before you bite into that veggie burger, be aware that even though it’s low in calories and fat, it’s very high in sodium (over 400 mg). Pick a black bean burger instead – a great source of iron, fiber and protein with disease fighting antioxidant levels similar to those of some fruits.
Did You Know…
* One cup of buttered popcorn has more calories than one serving of tortilla chips
* Lite salad dressing has more sodium than reduced fat peanut butter
* A breakfast bar has less sugar than bran flake cereal
* Boxed rice pilaf is so salty, it can give you almost half of your daily sodium allowance
* Part-skim mozzarella is better cheese option than part-skim ricotta with 20 grams of fat per cup
* Low-fat fruit yogurt is higher in sugar than instant brown sugar flavored oatmeal
* One glass of low-fat chocolate milk has less sugar than one glass of cranberry juice
* In the vending machine, commercially prepared trail mix has more calories than two homemade chocolate chip cookies