Remember when you first started on your journey or at least thought about starting and you went to the grocery store. I am sure what was in your cart was boneless skinless chicken breast, some form of fruits, some veggies, some light version of bread, and a ton of fat-free food that would send anyone into a tizzy! And lest I not forget those delicious (but really not) Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine meals that are supposed to fill you up (but really they don’t). Congrats! You fell for it! Fell for what you might ask? The old heave ho….the old rules that are supposed to apply to “dieting”. This is one of those common things that just about everybody I know does. I remember when making the commitment to eat better I initially weighed my options about what to eat. I am not above eating a Smart Ones or a Lean Cuisine every now and then but everyday? I simply can’t and won’t do it.
So what is the issue with some of the stuff that is marketed towards people who are dieting or looking for healthier options? If you read the labels carefully, you will see that there isn’t much difference between the regular version and the “healthier” version. The regular version is typically more fatty, has more sodium, and more ingredients that you can’t pronounce. If you look at the “healthier” version you will see that while there may be a calorie difference, the ingredients list has grown quite a bit. Makes zero sense considering the “healthier” version is supposed to have more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. Well….when you look at it closely it all makes sense. The “healthier” version has to make up for the elimination of the bad stuff somehow. And how do they do that? Well they add a ton of salt….aka….sodium! Compare the sodium contents and you will see what I mean. You can easily eat more than half of the required daily intake of sodium just from heating up your Lean Cuisine meal at lunch. What’s my recommendation here? Pack your lunch…from food you cooked at home. Issue eliminated.
And what about those 100 Calorie snack packs of cookies? Well….do you know what Red #40 or Blue Lake #1 is? Yea neither do I. What I do know is that they are both artificial colors used in so many foods that it is unreal. We have worked really hard to eliminate artificial colors and dyes from our foods and we have been checking labels for quite some time. Giving up our Beloved Froot Loops took some major will power but after determining that Lady S’s poop should NOT look like a rainbow after eating cereal, we cut them lose. I realize that it is difficult to eliminate all the bad stuff from your diet but just a few simple things will help.
So what does it all mean? Become a label checker and follow these guidelines:
- The fewer the ingredients, the better. If there are 30 ingredients listed in something that you could make yourself with 5 ingredients then you are better off getting off your arse and doing it yourself!
- If you can’t pronounce it then you might not want to eat it.
- Buy organic when you can. Look at this list of the top 12 things to buy organic so that you are spending your hard-earned money on things you really don’t need.
- Menu Plan – I’ve said it before and I will say it again. A little bit of prep will save you a lot of headache!
- Simple is always better! Food doesn’t have to be complicated.
I have to end this post by telling you not to beat yourself up if you slip up a day or two. Things happen and it can be difficult to do all of these all the time, but you owe it to yourself and your body to at least try!