As an nutritionist, one of the first questions my clients ask me is, “Are there any foods I can never eat again?” or “What foods are forbidden?”. Though my initial response is, “None”, I then quickly back pedal and add–“Almost none”. While most foods are okay in moderation (we all know we are not supposed to eat creme brûlée every night), there are certain foods which have NO redeeming qualities, and are in my “no fly zone”. Here we go–and I show no leniency!
- Soda–this is a no brainer. And with more sugar in a 12 oz can of Coke than in 2 candy bars, and absolutely no nutritional benefit, I make no exceptions. Diet sodas are no better, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners which are loaded with chemicals, and actually make you more hungry after you consume them.
- White bread–while the “no grains” diets are quite popular, I am not a fan of them. I feel that by eliminating whole grains (such as oats, brown rice, quinoa) you are also omitting foods that are high in fiber, protein and vitamins. However, white bread is a nutritional “zero”. White bread is stripped and completely processed, turning immediately to sugar when digested. Stick to WHOLE grains.
- Bottled salad dressings–just make your own! Bottled dressings are loaded with cheap hydrogenated oils, sugar, salt, and preservatives–which is why they can last on the shelf of a grocery store for up to a year. I have several easy recipes that take seconds to make.
- Processed deli meats–they are loaded with salt, sodium nitrates, and unhealthy preservatives. Hot dogs are particularly egregious as they are made from poor quality meat and even higher in sodium than cold cuts. Get your family used to eating real turkey and chicken, roasted and carved off the bone. It is easy to find at the butcher and a much safer bet. Ditto my feelings here for all processed cheese–another mess of salt, oils, and food coloring.
- Instant oatmeal packets and many boxed cereals–when I suggest that people begin eating oatmeal for breakfast (made with water or almond milk, honey, fresh fruit, and nuts), I immediately clarify that I do NOT mean the “packets”, which are loaded with sugar and low in fiber. Most boxed cereals are also a no-no for this reason. They rarely keep you full once the sugar “buzz” wears off, and leave you starving for more sugar in an hour. Use my 5-5-10 rule when choosing a cereal: 5g. fiber, 5g. protein, and less than 10g. sugar. There are plenty of great choices.