If you believe everything you read or hear, then there are certain foods that will automatically make your diet unhealthy or foods that will interfere with your weight loss efforts. If you focus too much on what you should not eat, and not enough on what you should eat, then you are going to struggle. Plus, you will miss out on important nutrients and increase the risk of overindulging in cravings when they hit hard.
Most foods can actually be included in a healthy diet. Here are 7 foods that are often avoided, but that could be part of your healthy diet. Don’t miss out!
Eggs have long been accused of being unhealthy because they contain cholesterol. But, according to Jackie London, RD, a New York City based dietician, “We now know that eggs are safe for people with high cholesterol. It’s other factors in the diet that raise cholesterol levels.”
London also emphasizes the point that eggs contain a high amount of vitamin B12, which is especially important for vegetarians to get enough of. London describes eggs as “the most biologically available protein you have.”
For those still concerned about consuming too many eggs, try mixing one or two egg whites with a full egg. This way you get the main benefits from the egg yolk and cut down on the total fat content. Skipping the cheese can also help reduce fat and cholesterol.
Dairy products are a terrific source of calcium, potassium and protein, but many people think that they are too high-fat and cut them out of their healthy diet. A glass of milk provides 8 grams of protein.
London states, “You’re only going to get that 8 grams of protein from animal milk, so you’re losing that if you switch to soy, almond, or coconut. And the reason for putting potassium on the new food labels is because we aren’t getting enough. Dairy is a good source of that.”
Pasta does not cause people to gain weight. Eating too much pasta will cause you to gain weight, however. Keri Gans, M.S., RD, the author of The Small Change Diet, states, “It’s the serving size and what you do with it that’s so key.”
Gans recommends having pasta as a side dish, rather than your main entrée. Limit your serving size to ½ to 1 cup, and steer clear of creamy, high fat sauce. Toss your pasta with olive oil, veggies, and lean proteins like shrimp or chicken to help balance out the carb and keep you satisfied.
4. White potatoes
Most people now know that sweet potatoes are on the “superfoods” list, and white potatoes have often been on the “avoid” list. Gans explains white potatoes as “a good source of fibre and potassium” and they are not high in calories. How you prepare them is what matters. Avoid fried potatoes and French fries, and instead top your spuds with salsa, Greek yoghurt, mustard or hummus to add flavour without adding calories.
Gans explains that “It’s jammed in our minds that nuts are fattening, but really it’s too many nuts that are fattening. Portion them out—a serving is roughly the size of a shot glass. Just never eat them straight out of the bag or jar.” That’s how you will lose track of how much you are eating.
Carbs are not the enemy, despite what you might be hearing. Gans states, “I couldn’t be a bigger supporter of a sandwich for lunch. Two slices of whole wheat bread with grilled chicken and avocado; or turkey with lettuce tomato, and mustard; or almond butter with a little jam.”
If you take a sandwich to work then you are less likely to overindulge and order out for lunch. Just make sure that you are making your sandwich with hearty whole grain bread that you get enough nutrients, fibre, and protein.
When you completely restrict your diet and avoid all indulgences, you are more likely to give in to cravings and bust your entire diet. Instead of avoiding everything, realize that most things are okay in moderation.
Gans says, “A big thing my clients always think they need to cut out is alcohol, but it can be part of a well-balanced diet. Just remember that the ‘more is better’ rule does not apply here.” Keeping your intake modest and drinking plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks can help.
Stick to red wine or vodka and soda with lime, instead of high calorie fruity drinks, and you can enjoy a few drinks socially. Even sweet treats can be part of a healthy diet, just try sharing your dessert or sticking to one cookie instead of three.
When you consider that most foods can be part of a healthy diet, as long as you consume them in moderation, then you can continue to eat most foods without sabotaging your weight loss goals or overall health.