3. Ingredients You Can’t Pronounce
Does ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate or partially hydrogenated soybean oil sound appetizing to you? Follow this rule of thumb: if a food product is made of stuff you need a course in chemistry to comprehend – or —if you can’t pronounce the first 5 ingredients, don’t let it near your cart.
Stay focused on buying whole foods comprised of only 1 ingredient. Instead of snacking on neon-orange cheese curls, slice up some carrots or celery sticks. Invest in an air popper and enjoy fiber-rich popcorn. Make homemade veggie chips: cut up kale, thinly slice beets, sweet potatoes or yams, sprinkle them with herbs and a little olive oil and bake in the oven.
4. Fake Health Foods
Fake health foods are those deceptive foods, billing themselves as “low in fat”, like certain cookies, salad dressings or yogurt brands. Look closely at their labels. To make up for flavor, these items are inevitably high in sugar or salt. Other tricky foods include packaged breads and crackers with labels stating “contains whole grains.” This often translates into considerably less fiber than 100% whole grain products.
Again, choose real foods as much as possible. If it’s a sweet tooth you need to satisfy, buy tasty dried fruits, such as apricots or mangos.
5. Canned Foods High in Sodium
Eighty percent of our sodium intake comes from processed and canned foods. In fact, many canned foods are so chockfull of salt, they contain half or more of your daily recommended intake. A diet high in sodium is dangerous since it can lead to high blood pressure.
Instead of buying canned soups, try making your own simple versions, like a healthy cream of carrot soup or hearty lentil. If you don’t have the time to cook, purchase canned soups low in sodium.
To lower your overall sodium intake, try seasoning foods with more herbs, both dried and fresh. You’ll rely less on table salt for flavor.
Learn more about the relationship between nutrition and lifestyle choices from Holistic Nutritionist Gillian McKeith, host of the UK's You are What You Eat and a guest on The Dr. Oz Show.