Before you head to the supermarket, make sure to cross these items off your grocery list; whether they’re rip-offs, fakes, or just plain unhealthy, here are the foods to keep OUT of your shopping cart!
Starchy white bagels and flavored varieties such as onion or poppy seed are made with refined wheat flour, which has been stripped of the fiber and nutrients that give whole grains their benefits. Bagels are also extremely dense, which means they really pack in the calories, many coming it at nearly four times the calories of a slice of white bread. Switch to whole grain English muffins or whole grain bread instead.
2. Cured Meats & Hot Dogs
Whether it’s a fancy platter of charcuterie or a hotdog with the works, avoid cured meats in any form. They’ve been linked to serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure, plus they’re packed with grease; regulations allow up to 50% of sausages to be fat, and it’s the bad kind of fat, not the good fats you should be eating. Stick to lean deli meats and sausages made from chicken and turkey for a protein hit with far less fat.
3. Trail Mix
Those small bags of trail mix may include a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruit but they also cost about $10 a pound, which is a whole lot more than you’d spend making your own mix. Get a large can of dry roasted peanuts, a bag of raisins, a bag of almonds, some dried fruit, seeds and a small bag of chocolate chips and you’ve got enough to last you a few weeks if you portion out handfuls of your homemade trail mix into Ziploc bags ready for the afternoon snack attack.
4. Bottled Ice Tea
Brew your own tea at home and save you’re your waistline while you also save money; bottled teas have a huge mark-up and also contain a whole lot of sugar
5. ‘Gourmet’ Frozen Veggies
Apart from the price and the packaging, there’s nothing fancy about so-called ‘gourmet’ frozen vegetables. Save yourself the money by leaving the peas in a herbed butter sauce in the supermarket and make them yourself; cook the peas and add a knob of butter and a sprinkling of herbs. The same goes for carrots with dill sauce and other vegetable combinations that can be easily whipped up for a fraction of the price.
6. White Rice
Like white bread and white pasta, white rice is one of the simple carbs you should avoid. Unlike whole grain versions, refined foods like these send your blood sugar levels into a spiral and do little to keep hunger at bay. Plus, studies have shown that a 17% higher probability of diabetes occurs when white rice is eaten more than five times per week when compared to only eating it once a month.
7. Tomato-Based Pasta Sauces
Not only do jars of spaghetti sauce contain a lot of sugar, they can also set you back between $2 and $6, while the equivalent amount of canned tomatoes will usually cost under a dollar. So, to save your waistline and your money, make your own sauces, especially in the summer when tomatoes are plentiful, tasty and cheap. The easiest way to make your own sauce is to put the crushed tomatoes (either canned or fresh) into a saucepan and stir in some wine or wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, your favorite herbs and some chopped veggies of your choice, such as peppers, onions, mushrooms and carrots and let the mixture simmer for an hour.
8. Energy Drinks
We warned you of the dangers of diet soda but energy drinks – including the sugar free varieties – are even worse for you. Stick to Phen Caps to give you an afternoon energy boost as these seemingly harmless caffeinated drinks have been linked to heart attacks, convulsions and even death.
9. ‘Blueberry’ Items
You’ll find blueberries in lots of foods these days, from cereals and protein bars to muffins, but it turns out that most of the blueberry flavored items on our shelves actually don’t contain a single blueberry, just artificial blueberry flavor. Enjoy the taste and health benefits of real blueberries by adding some to plain breakfast cereal yourself.
10. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
Dieters think that they’re able to spread more peanut butter when it’s low fat, but it’s a common mistake. When companies take out the fat in peanut butter, they add in lots of sugar to make it taste good. Stick to regular peanut butter for more of the good fats and less of the fake sweetness.
11. Gluten-Free Baked Goods
If you haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance then you should keep in mind that gluten-free does not mean healthy – using gluten-free as a byword for healthy is one of the biggest diet myths there is. In fact, gluten-free baked goods like crackers and bread aren’t just way more expensive, they’re often packed with more refined flours and sugar than traditional baked goods, so make sure to always check the label.
12. Flavored Non-Dairy Milks
Vanilla caramel soy milk won’t win you any health points, but these types of flavored non-dairy milks will certainly add to your grocery bill. If you prefer non-dairy milks for dietary reasons then stick to unsweetened versions of almond milk, soy milk or oat milk. And if you’re just trying to eat healthily then stick to skimmed milk.
13. Multigrain Bread
Don’t be fooled – this is probably a loaf of simple carbs masquerading as something healthier. Check the ingredient list to make sure that whole grain is the first, and therefore main, ingredient. If not, you’re just getting a few grains mixed into white bread, with none of the benefits of fiber-filled whole grain bread.
14. Protein Bars
These calorie-laden bars are usually stacked at the checkout counter because they fool impulse buyers into thinking they are more wholesome than a candy bar. Unfortunately, they can have a very high fat and sugar content, are often as calorific as a regular candy bar, and, they're also two to three times more expensive. If you need a boost, a piece of fruit, a yogurt, or a small handful of nuts will contain more nutrients, be more satiating, and less expensive.
15. Salad Kits
Washed and bagged greens can be a time-saver, but they can cost three times as much as buying the same amount of a head of lettuce. Even more expensive are 'salad kits’, where you get a small sachet of dressing and a small bag of croutons to accompany your greens. Skip these altogether by making your own croutons by toasting and cutting up old stale bread and mix your own salad dressing with these pantry essentials.
Here at phen.com we promote eating healthily, which means cutting out these types of overly processed foods in favor of fresh foods rich in nutrients, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. What’s more, many people use the excuse that healthy eating is expensive, when in fact it’s often cheaper and healthier to stick to more basic, fresh ingredients and make things yourself.
Do you buy any of these foods? Will you now be switching to healthier alternatives? Let us know by commenting below.