Summer is just around the corner (finally) and for many of us, that means heading to the gym to shed a few pounds, or just making smarter eating choices to feel good overall. In the landscape of diet foods and quick fixes, it’s easy to lose sight of how many foods that seem to be healthy, but are just the opposite. Many culprits are in the most common foods. Here are 5 foods that might be sabotaging your diet, and healthy alternatives.
1) High-Fat Salad Dressing: While ordering a salad for lunch instead of a cheeseburger always seems like the right thing to do, you’d be surprised at just how many calories come in the dressing on top of your healthy bed of greens. Dressings like ranch and Caesar, and even some of their low-fat versions can contain a large of amount of sugar and from the High Fructose Syrup added to give it a sweeter taste.
Alternative: Choose oil-based dressings like olive oil and vinegar for a healthier dressing.
2) Cocktails: As a woman who loves a good margarita, it pains me to realize just how much sugar is in most drinks. If you’ve managed to eat healthy all week then down five cocktails in one night, you probably should have gone ahead and had those fries at lunch instead. Alcohol reportedly slows down your metabolism and especially decreases fat burn in the belly.
Alternative: Try a vodka soda or dry wines like Cabernet and Chardonnay to still get your happy hour fix.
3) Baked Chips: Although low in saturated fat, baked chips often contain a high amount of sodium and sugar, not to mention empty calories.
Alternative: Grab a bag of crunchy vegetables like carrots, bake kale to make kale chips, or munch on some plain rice cakes.
4)Flavored Yogurt: Although yogurt is full of healthy bacteria for your stomach and loaded with vitamins, flavored yogurt contains a high level of sugar, which can sabotage your diet.
Alternative: Opt for plain yogurt and add a drop of honey for some sweetness.
5) Fiber or Protein Bars: Seemingly perfect for a diet food snack or pre-workout fuel, many healthy bars are not that far off from candy bars in terms of their sugar content, and may not even contain real protein. The hidden sugars in these bars can slow your metabolism; so make sure to be aware of the ingredients before you buy.
Alternative: For a fiber fix, reach for an apple.