10 FOODS AND DRINKS TO AVOID IF YOU ARE ON A DIET, DESPITE THEIR SO-CALLED HEALTHINESS

Today’s blog subject is dedicated to one of my friends in Pilates class.  She brought up a subject that is important to discuss in my blog because it comes up all of the time when people ask me how I keep the weight off.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating large amounts of sugar and carbs!  I do eat very well.  Salads twice a day.  Four servings of veggies a day (small ones), 2 small fruits a day, 6 protein-based foods per day, water, etc.  But, keep in mind that I want to keep my carbs between 50g to 100g per day.  Also keep in mind that it takes about 4g of sugar/carbs per 1 sugar cube.

We get conned into eating and drinking things based on their nutritional qualities, but in fact, they are LOADED in “unhealthy” amounts of sugar and carbs.  Trust me, I know.  I gained over 40 pounds at one time just eating “healthy foods”, without knowing the secrets behind their fat-causing carbs!

If you want to lose weight, you want to eat six protein-based “small” meals per day.  Here are 10 items to stay away from, but I mention how to do it with low-carb or replacements for them.  I am letting you in on my found-out secrets!

10 FOODS AND DRINKS TO AVOID IF YOU ARE ON A DIET, DESPITE THEIR SO-CALLED HEALTHINESS

1.  SMOOTHIES or JUICE:

If you have a smoothie, it has to be more vegetables than fruits (fruits have a lot of sugar and carbs) and the size you drink has to be small.  Depending on what you put in your smoothie, perhaps about 4-6 ounces is enough.  Are your smoothies bigger than that and has a combination of high carb/sugar fruits in them?  A few berries, citrus–that is ok….but loaded in apple, banana–you are looking at a lot of carbs.  Some of the smoothies at a regular juice place, like Jamba Juice, have 67g of carbs (This is over 20 sugar cubes–would you eat 20 sugar cubes?)  in a basic 16 ounce smoothie.  If you are only supposed to have between 50-100g of carbs per day to stay thin, that is a lot for one drink.  There goes the rest of the carbs for the day!  Instead, I personally recommend eating real veggies and two small fruits a day.  Smoothies are really for people who can’t stand eating veggies and it is the only way to get it into your diet.  Don’t drink orange juice–eat an orange.

2.  ACAI BOWLS/ MUFFINS/CEREAL:

Loaded up with granola (NOT A HEALTH FOOD–way too much sugar.  Use plain nuts instead).  I never eat granola.  A lot of people see it as a health food.  NOT!  It has 38g of carbs in just half of a cup!   An Acai Bowl has about 125g of carbs between the granola and the banana, etc.  These are not diet foods.  WATCH OUT FOR NUTS:  20g or so in carbs per cup.  Limit them or measure and bag them in advance when used for a snack.  My snacks usually consist of a few nuts and cheese (little to no carbs in cheese).  Western Bagel has a low carb bagel called the Perfect Ten, that is usually a special breakfast item for me out of my usual eggs.

Stay away from cereal.  Mostly carbs, sugar and chemicals.  Try oatmeal instead, but keep it to a small serving because it is high in carbs.  Read the labels.

Also, muffins have grains.  Grains are higher in carbs.  I don’t care if it is a bran muffin or a blueberry muffin–it is still a muffin. It wiIll add to a muffin top, if you know what I mean.

3.  DRIED FRUIT:

Has a lot of sugar and carbs.  Instead, eat fruit.  2 small amounts of fruit per day.  If you eat a banana, one serving is HALF of a large banana.

4.  RICE:  

High carb, little nutritional quality–even the brown stuff.  Quinoa is better, but it is also high carb, so limit it to a few spoons worth in a serving.  A cup of Quinoa is over 100g of carbs.  As high as rice.  Also, rice has arsenic in it.  Yuck!  ALSO RICE CAKES ARE HIGH IN CARBS TOO!

5.  WRAPS:  

Bread products of all kinds are high in carbs.  I don’t eat sandwiches either.  A slice of bread can be around 30g of carbs. Some of the lower carb breads like Ezekiel, is about 10g EACH slice.  But, a medium sized wrap is about 22g of carbs.  I eat salads with meat and other proteins on them or a sandwich or burger that is wrapped in lettuce and not a bun or wrap.  Watch out for tortillas too, unless they are the specific low-carb ones, which you can see at any store, even Trader Joes.  A regular tortilla can be over 30g of carbs, but a low carb one can be about 5g net carbs, once you factor in the fiber.

Watch out for JUICE.  It is just liquid sugar.

6.  PROTEIN DRINKS/SPORTS DRINKS?PROTEIN BARS

All laden with high carbs.  Only get ones that are low carb.  Less than 20g of carbs is best.  Or you can factor in fiber.  Look at the total carbs and subtract the fiber and you have net carbs.

7.  VEGGIE BURGERS/FROZEN FOODS:

Very high in carbs if you pick the wrong one.  Buyer beware.  Some of them are only 10g of carbs.  So choose wisely and look at the nutritional labels.

Most of the low-cal frozen foods are high carb and will put weight on you.  Just look at the labels.  They are also loaded in sodium (as is canned soup) and are not good for your heart.

8.  YOGURT/FROZEN YOGURT:  

Some of them are so high in sugar and carbs, it should be illegal.  You could be looking at 20-30g of carbs per cup.  Greek yogurt has better options and if you choose the ones that are unflavored, there are hardly any carbs. There are a few products like Danon Lite and Fit Greek Yogurt flavored,  with only about 10g or less of carbs per cup.

Frozen yogurt is laden in sugar, carbs and a lot of really nasty chemicals.  There is nothing “yogurty” about it.  You are better off having a no-sugar added scoop of Dreyers or Breyers ice cream.  Breyers Carbsmart ice cream bars are delish and low in carbs.  I get them at Ralphs, Smart and Final, and Wal-Mart.

9.  BEANS:

Yes, they are good for you–in small amounts.  A tablespoon is about 8g of carbs.  A cup of them is about 120g of carbs.  So, your burrito with the high carb shell, high carb beans and high carb rice will easily top you over 100g of carbs for your one very healthy organic Chipotle burrito.  I always do a salad version, limit the beans, no rice.

10.  AGAVE!

Syrup

One of the more popular “natural” sweeteners is Agave nectar, also called agave syrup.You will find this sweetener in all sorts of “health foods,” often with attractive claims on the packaging.

The problem with Agave is that it is no better than sugar. In fact, it is much, much worse…

One of the main problems with sugar is that it has excessive amounts of fructose, which can cause severe metabolic problems when consumed in excess.

Whereas sugar is about 50% fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup about 55%, Agave contains even more… up to 70-90%.

Try Stevia or just use natural sugar, in moderation, because sugar is not good for losing weight.  And if you are putting fruit in your smoothie (and I don’t recommend smoothies and I don’t do them anymore), then you have enough fructose sugar from the fruit, so why add more?  Stop being a sugar junkie!

Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal of the Day For Concentration and Skinniness

Eating a balanced breakfast sets you up to succeed in your healthy eating and your focus for the entire day. Studies support that you need to start your day off with a healthy breakfast because there are many benefits to eating it.

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The benefits of breakfast include:

IMPROVED MOOD:

Eating breakfast can lift your mood. People who don’t eat breakfast are more tired and irritable.

MORE ENERGY FOR THE DAY:

Before you eat in the morning, your body (like a car with little gas) is running on empty. You get energy from high-quality protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

BETTER CONCENTRATION:

Eating breakfast also improves your ability to problem solve. You will be more productive and better able to handle tasks that require memory. Going to work or sending your kids to school sets everyone up for a mismanaged workload and poorer performance than those who eat a healthy breakfast (pop tarts is not healthy!)

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT:

Studies show that if you eat breakfast, you’re more likely to be at a healthy weight than people who don’t eat breakfast.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS:

Having an egg or two, with some low fat cheese or turkey (I put vegetables and/or spinach in mine) and a piece of fruit will give you great protein, minerals and vitamins. If you are able to put in some flax, chi or other seeds into your eggs, then you are adding good carbs and fiber. For those who are able to fit in the carbs for the day count of 50 to 100, you can have a slice of whole grain bread or just a small measured portion of oatmeal (depending on the brand is oatmeal, a cup of oatmeal is about 30g of carbs), whole-grain cereal (not the high sugar Honey Nut Cheerios). Try a little almond butter instead of butter. 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter equals 6g of carbs. Another great breakfast option is Greek yogurt. Strawberries and blueberries are great in yogurt, cereal and oatmeal.

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Please pull out a measuring cup and become acquainted with how small a cup is vs. what you might thing a cup looks like in your mind.

Basics of a Quick and Balanced Breakfast

One of the most common excuses for not eating breakfast is being short on time to get to work or school. But breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy or time consuming. You can wake up just a little earlier to fit in a nutritious breakfast. The small investment in time in breakfast (and in you) pays off through the whole day.

If you really love cereal, then compromise and put a few for flavor and texture in your oatmeal or your yogurt.

Next time you’re racing against the clock, try these effortless and healthy breakfast ideas:

*You can make a quick smoothie with yogurt and fruit, with some ice cubes. Throw in some chi or flax seeds.
*Western Bagel and some low carb places sell low carb bagels. The Western Bagel Perfect 10 bagel is really good. Lots of fiber and protein and 10g net carbs. Get them at Westernbagel.com and refrigerate them.
*Have hard-boiled eggs available and ready to grab on the run. Places like some selected Costco and Trader Joes has them already hard-boiled and peeled, in bags, for those who really are super busy.
*Low carb shakes in a can (like Pure Protein) or low carb protein bars (like Power Crunch or Nature Valley Protein Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate).
*Low carb Greek yogurt in a small ready-to-go containers (like Dannon Greek Light and Fit)
**Come on, scrambled eggs don’t take that long.

Choices, choices, choices!

I am at a seminar today. All day. There is a continental breakfast. I knew in advance that this means that there will be muffins and bagels. CARB fest.

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Do I want to eat about 30g of carbs in one go with little protein? NO!

So, I prepared. I brought my chicken salad for lunch. I brought protein bars at 14g of carbs and Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt at 8g of carbs. I also have sunflower seeds in measured bags at 3 carbs per bag.

Also, high protein and low carbs is the way to go. More food spread out, and overall less carbs and my metabolism is being fed every 2 or 3 hours. The bagel eaters will have more problems today with that.

The key to success in weight loss/maintenance is preparation the day before an event. Don’t just go and hope for the best. That is NOT good for keeping thin.

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Being thin means commitment to yourself and spending time on yourself like you would in a project at work. Your health is the most important thing you have. You can’t work or have fun if you are sick or dead. PRIORITIZE yourself! Spend a little time on preparation.