After the New Year is rung in, hoards of people try cutting sweets, sodas and even alcohols from their diets in effort to lose weight. It may not be much weight, but being five or ten pounds lighter can make a world of difference for someone's self confidence. But while those people say no to dessert and opt for Greek yogurt, and say sayonara to potato chips and opt for zucchini chips, they may simultaneously be sabotaging their journey with some sneaky unhealthy foods. While it's not imperative to indefinitely cut all of these out of your life because healthy living is about balance, if weight loss is your goal for the forthcoming months it would be wise to reevaluate how much and how often you consume the following foods.
1. Bottled fruit juices: One glass of apple juice contains more sugar than an adult needs in an entire day — almost seven teaspoons in a single serving. Although apple juice tastes great and flaunts that it has "no artificial flavors" on the front, it is best to just stick with a real apple and absorb natural sugars to be used as energy.
2. Pastas: Oh gosh, it is so creamy and cheesy and smothered and good, but absolutely loaded with carbohydrates. While pasta can be energizing when eaten in small amounts, the sheer size of pasta portions is where the problem lies. Restaurants serve two, three, even four heaping cups of pasta that is covered in sauces, oils and cheeses. Try to switch to whole-grain varieties of pasta, and use it as an ingredient rather than a large part of the dish. Or try zucchini noodles in replacement of pasta altogether! Here's how to make zoodles!
>> Recipe: Carb-Cutting Avocado Zucchini Noodles
3. Soda pop: The list of problems associated with drinking sugary and caffeinated beverages are literally endless. The amount of calories in one of these drinks could reach as high as 700, all of them empty and unfulfilling for your energy levels. Too many Americans are addicted to soda pop, and yes, kicking the habit is hard. But kick it for your health because you don't need all the sugar, chemicals and additives in that one can of Mountain Dew.
4. Some cereals: Trix are for kids? They really shouldn't be for anybody. You wouldn't eat a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast, let alone give one to your child! So why invest in cereals that have 12, 15, even 24 grams of sugar in a single or two servings? If you're already in the habit of getting your morning crunch on, eat cereals with low sugar content such as Cheerios or Kellogg's Special K Protein Plus.
5. Tomato sauces: So you made the switch to eating whole-grain pasta with tons of sautéed veggies, but what about the sauce? Unfortunately, jarred tomato sauces are the culprit for ridiculous amounts of excess sugar. You can easily make your own tomato sauce; it's not hard or time consuming, and think of how accomplished you will feel! Check out this recipe from WellnessMama.
6. White rice: White rice is a refined product with the husk, bran and germ removed completely. Nutrients are also removed and added back in to lengthen shelf life. White rice contains carbohydrates that the body converts to simple sugars that are absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream. Try brown rice or wild rice instead. Wild rice is the actual grain with nothing removed, and contains massive amounts of protein, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins. Go wild.
7. Alcohol: Let's be honest here: Alcohol is not conducive for weight loss. It just isn't. There are some cocktails that have less calories than others, but those calories are still empty. You may have said no to the beer and yes to a vodka cranberry, but then you're a couple glasses in, your judgement is impaired and now you're on the phone with Domino's. How did you get here? And, alcohol is the first thing your body works to get rid of before anything else. So kickstart your metabolism for fat loss by avoiding the chardonnay.
8. Seasoning salts: Instead of overloading your chicken breast with cajun seasoning, sprinkle some fresh herbs in the skillet. Seasonings and salts are chock full of sodium, which will force your body to retain water. Make delectably fragrant dishes, not salty messes! Check out these eight popular kitchen herbs and how to use them.