It’s hard to believe, but 2018 is literally just days away. And you know what that means. It’s time to give some serious thought to those New Year’s resolutions.
The trick, of course, is to come up with something that’s not so huge it’ll be overwhelming, but not so small it’ll be useless. Which can be far trickier than it sounds.
But don’t worry we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of unhealthy foods EVERYONE should be ditching from their diet this year.
Giving them up will take a little effort on your part. But removing them from your regular menu can have a big impact on your health.
Unhealthy foods to give up in the New Year
Start the New Year off right by getting rid of these five unhealthy foods.
1. Reduced-fat peanut butter:
Peanut butter became a target of the misguided war on fats, and we’re paying the price with reduced-fat peanut butter. The truth is the fats found in peanuts are good fats. And eaten in moderation they’re excellent for your health.
But when food manufacturers remove those good fats, they’re also removing flavor. And since no one is going to buy a jar of unpalatable peanut butter, they “fix” the problem by dumping in a bunch of extra sugar and salt.
In other words, they turn a healthy snack into a junk food that earns its spot on the unhealthy foods list. But bunches of folks still buy it believing they’re doing something good for their health.
Stick with all-natural peanut butter instead. The ingredients should only list peanuts and a little salt, nothing else.
2. Dried fruit:
Dried fruit, in moderation, SHOULD be healthy. But, once again, food manufacturers are taking healthy “sometimes snacks” and turning them into unhealthy foods.
More often than not dried fruit is coated with granulated sugar to make it sweeter. So instead of getting healthier, natural sugars, you’re getting the refined kind you know you should skip. Plus, to add insult to injury, many brands add preservatives to keep them shelf stable.
If you’re a dried fruit fan make your own, or find a brand that contains fruit and nothing else. But keep in mind that dried fruit is higher in sugar than fresh fruit because it’s concentrated. And removing the water from the fruit means it’s less filling, making it easy to overeat. In other words, you still need to be careful with your portion sizes, and with how often you indulge
3. “Enhanced” waters:
Fancy “enhanced” waters are all the rage these days. But the truth is these popular drinks—such as Vitaminwater, Crystal Light and Mio—aren’t adding any nutrients to your drink that you can’t get from a healthy diet.
Plus with many popular brands, you get preservatives, artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, and chemicals. In other words, they’ve transformed healthy water into a chemical soup worthy of our unhealthy foods list.
Plain filtered water is refreshing and good for you. But if you what to add some extra zing toss in some fresh fruit or a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice.
These fun and healthy fruit and herb ice cubes are cinch to make, and add some extra nutrition to your glass. Or try some seltzer water for an enjoyable, bubbly alternative to “enhanced” water.
4. Processed “health” foods:
You know the so-called “health” foods we’re talking about here. Those heavily processed products they sell to us as healthy alternatives.
For example those always popular diet meals in the frozen food aisle, which are full of sugar, junk salt and preservatives. And the top selling granola bars that are so full of sugar and additives they’d be more at home in the candy aisle. Or the gluten-free cake mix pretending to be a health food in the baking aisle.
The problem with all of these products is, despite their veneer of good health, they’re still heavily processed, shelf-stabilized, unhealthy foods. Junk food is still junk food, despite the label you stick on it.
5. Sweetened nut milks:
These days you’ll find a large selection of nut milks—such as almond, coconut and cashew—hanging out in the dairy aisle next to the milk and cream. The trouble is more often than not they’re loaded with added sugars and many are laced with artificial flavors such as chocolate and vanilla.
The unsweetened versions are a better choice. But sweetened or not, many contain carrageenan, a thickener and stabilizer that’s linked to digestive problems.
Look for a brand without unwanted extras. Or you can try making your own nut milks at home. (It’s surprisingly easy… check YouTube for some how-to videos.) Or stick with organic whole milk instead.
Start your year off right by ridding your diet of these five unhealthy foods.