This week, Holly Mlodzinski, a registered dietitian and health promotions coordinator with Hilton Head Hospital, talks about the foods or ingredients we should all try to avoid and offers some healthier substitutes in their place.
Question: I know there’s a good deal of discussion on eating healthier foods in general and avoiding those that aren’t so good for us, or at least consuming those in moderation. But do you personally have a list of those foods or ingredients you almost never eat?
Answer: Drop that fork and walk away. Everyone needs an occasional sweet in their life, but before you dig in and indulge, there are a few foods I recommend you avoid and a few to include in their place.
Avoid: Processed baked goods
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No matter how good those doughnuts look, step away, because they’re just not worth it. They can add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your daily diet.
Include: Fresh fruit
Fruit is naturally low in calories and chock-full of good sugars. Try to keep fruit in your office or around your kitchen so the habit of choosing fruit over the doughnut or the bag of chips becomes easier.
According to the USDA, the daily amount of sugar for men and women is about six teaspoons or 24 grams. Most sodas have about 44 grams per 12-ounce can.
Good old-fashioned water is still the best way to go. It hydrates the body and should make up for most of what we drink throughout the day. If you’re looking for a way to jazz it up a bit, add a slice of fruit for some extra flavor.
Avoid: White bread
White bread can sneak into our daily diet more places than we are aware. Most hamburger buns, bagels, pizza crusts and dinner rolls are white-bread items that we eat once or more a week. However, these items are low in fiber and other essential nutrients.
Include: Whole grains
Choose whole-grain products that have 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Avoid: Whole-milk products
This includes anything from gourmet ice cream, whole-milk cheddar cheese, yogurt or whole milk in a jug. While yes, these products contain our protein, calcium and B-12, they are also rich in fat and cholesterol.
Include: Low-fat dairy products
Thankfully, milk products almost always have a lower-fat option that still contains the calcium we need. Try going this route when buying your dairy products to eliminate unnecessary fat from your diet.
Avoid: Stick butter and margarine
Most butters, especially those in stick form, hold a high amount of saturated fat. Each tablespoon of butter amounts to 100 calories and 11 grams of fat. Butter is also one of those sneaky foods that are in most of our recipes and foods that we order, yet we don’t realize just how much of it we eat.
Include: Olive oil
Olive or canola oils are great substitutions for butter. They are high in mono- and polyunsaturated fat. This is the best option to cut back on saturated fats.