- Artifical Sweeteners – I used to be the Splenda Queen back when I used to count calories and loved the idea of a zero calorie sugar alternative, and I ignored the fact that Aspartame is chemicals. Fake sugar is hidden in a lot of processed packaged foods so learn to read a nutrition label and stay far away. Not only can they cause cancer and a laundry list of other scary negative side effects, but artificial sweeteners can also inhibit weight loss! Sugar free is not always the answer! I try to keep to a low sugar diet but I will put a teaspoon of regular or coconut sugar in my morning cup of coffee.
- Flavored coffee creamer – While technically this isn’t a food, because I’m a coffee addict I had to include it in my list. Artificial sugars, preservatives and a long list of other ingredients I can’t pronounce are hidden in these deliciously flavored Coffee Mate flavored coffee creamers. I’m still tempted when I walk by in the store when I see Almond Joy, Pumpkin Spice or Caramel Creme Brûlée flavored coffee delicisouness. I use a little regular milk or almond milk in my coffee and occaisonally as a treat I’l use half and half at the diner.
- Bread/Pasta – If you told me three years ago that I would cut regular bread and pasta out of my diet I would have told you to go away and that you’re crazy because I was a carb-o-holic and there was no way this Italian girl who was raised on pasta was ever giving it up. Then I realized how great I felt without it and it really hasn’t been hard. I do substitute bread with Ezekiel sprouted grain bread (one slice at breakfast) and I also occasionally use the Ezekiel tortillas at lunch, but as for any other type of bread, I don’t eat it 99% of the time. As for pasta I have replaced it with brown rice pasta, brown rice or quinoa when a recipe calls for pasta, and its fabulous not being bloated with a stomach ache after I eat. If its a special occasion/holiday/party I might have a little piece of bread or even some pasta but then I definitely pay the price. On Christmas Eve I actually did make the world’s best lasagna (family Christmas Eve tradition) and I don’t regret a single bite :). Everything in moderation is ok!
- Breakfast Cereal – Before I changed my diet I used to have breakfast cereal just about EVERY SINGLE DAY. I grew up eating cereal and it was quick and easy before school or work. I thought the “healthy”cereals were totally fine but the truth is, while there are some that aren’t all bad, they are loaded with carbs and sugar. Now for breakfast I opt for a high protein meal but not always low in calories as its important to rev your metabolism for optimal fat burning. I usually have 1 whole egg and 2-3 egg whites, 2 slices of nitrate free turkey bacon, a slice of Ezekiel with 1/4 of an avocado or a tablespoon of natural peanut butter or almond butter and some berries. Another favorite breakfast of mine when I don’t have much time to make my eggs is a slice of Ezekiel toasted with tbs of nut butter and a banana sliced on top with some berries. Occasionally I will have some plain rolled oats with nut butter, berries and a little cinnamon.
- Fast Food – I was never a big fast food eater but now I avoid it at all cost, and this also goes for my family. Do I even need to tell you why? You know all the negatives of fast food. While I used to occasionally love some french fries, now they actually make me sick if I eat any of it. I used to give into fast food more when I was on the road in sales because I wasn’t always prepared or had the time to sit down to a healthier lunch. Now even though I’m busy in a different way and on the go with the kids, I ALWAYS have something with me in the car or my diaper bag…a Quest protein bar, an apple, a banana…something to hold me over until I can get my hands on a healthy meal option. I always pack healthy snacks for the kids as well. The exception I make to this is Chipotle, Moe’s, and Subway. Subway recently introduced new chicken strips to their menu that are all white meat, have no artificial preservatives, etc. I understand that there are times in our busy lives when you have no other option than fast food but there are a few healthier options so choose wisely despite the temptation!
Now you know what foods I try to avoid and are probably wondering what I do eat. Well here is a photo of what my normal weekly staple foods are:
Produce: Fruits and vegetables attribute for most of my shopping trip. I always stock up on berries (strawberries and blueberries), bananas and apples. For veggies I get some for juicing (carrots, celery, beets, kale, and cucumbers). I also get veggies for dinner (broccoli, peppers, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, green beans, spinach, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, etc.).
Dairy: With two toddlers we drink a lot of milk in our house so I usually buy two half gallons of organic 2% milk and also unsweetened almond milk for our protein shakes. Eggs, plain yogurt and yogurt for the kids are also a staple in our house. I usually also buy cheese of some sort that I sprinkle on dinners sometimes :).
Meat: I purchase all of my lean protein for the week and that usually includes chicken, ground turkey, fish (usually salmon or cod), and lean ground beef. I also buy nitrate free cold cut turkey for lunches.
Whole Grains/Packaged Foods: I try to avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store as much as I can but the packaged foods I do consistently buy are natural peanut butter/almond butter, PB2, granola, Cheerios (for my girl :)), Ezekiel bread, Ezekiel tortillas, chocolate rice cakes, Rao’s jarred tomato sauce (minimal ingredients and the best jar sauce you will ever have), tomato paste, canned beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans), oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, brown rice pasta.
I meal plan ahead of time and decide dinners in the beginning of the week before I shop. We usually eat dinner leftovers the next day for lunch to keep it simple.
I hope this list helps you figure out what you should try to focus on eating to help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals!