I certainly believe in moderation.  However, as you strive towards your healthiest self and begin to refine your food choices, these are worth exploring.  If you’re currently eating some of these give yourself a trial period away from these items to see how your body feels.  You may be surprised — perhaps you will feel better–especially if you have an autoimmune disease, like me.  You may notice clearer skin, less bloating, and a little more pep! I’ve added some additional suggestions to the list (in bold), mostly because of the effects I’ve noticed for myself in making these changes.  I believe in YOU doing what works for YOU- Something you can sustain and feel good about.  It takes time, effort, and trial and error, but the benefits are worth it!

A few reminders when preparing your next meal.  Remember to think, prepare, and plan ahead to stay in the clear and eating clean.  How do you feel when you eat well?  What is your energy like?

 Here are 10 foods to avoid — and suggestions for healthier substitutions:

1.    Sugary drinks. This means soda pop, juices, 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–add lemon, switch that high sugar coffee to an Americano or drip.

2.    Processed lunch meats. And this includes sausages, hot dogs and bacon. They’re high in fat and sodium — even those that say “lower” or “reduced.” Instead cook a little extra meat, chicken or fish to use in sandwiches. Beware of Tofu too–lots of sodium.   Meatless has been great for me.  Lean towards beans, lentils, quinoa, almond butters, etc. for protein. 

3.    White bread. Choose whole grain for more fiber. Don’t be fooled by the color of the bread — it has nothing to do with it being whole grain. Look for the term “whole” on the label. If you can virtually eliminate breads, even better.

4.    Whole milk. Skip dairy products with “whole” on the packages. Look for “low-fat” instead. Better yet, give Almond Milk a try!

5.    Canned or instant soup. They’re pricey and loaded with salt — even the lower sodium versions. Make your own.

6.    Junk food snacks. Chips, crackers and “doodles.” If they’re in your kitchen they’ll end up in your mouth. They may be labeled “low-fat” or “trans fat-free,” but they still have plenty of salt and calories. Fruits and Veggies make GREAT SNACKS! 

7.    Stick spreads. Butter and margarine in stick form are saturated fats — and stick margarine can have trans fat. Try trans-fat free tub spreads. Or better yet break the spread habit.

8.    White rice. Go for brown or wild rice. Replacing white rice with brown rice or other whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat and barley, can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.

9.    Yogurt — unless it’s plain. Avoid ones that are loaded with fat and sugar. Choose plain, low-fat yogurt and add your own fruit. Seriously- check the label and avoid those with sugar substitutes too.  Are there any ok yogurts?  I feel very similar towards cereals too. 

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.

 Happy and healthy eating!