Forget about your pantry. What’s in your refrigerator? Besides the milk, cheese, and eggs, you likely have dressings, deli meats, drinks, and hopefully a drawer of vegetables. While it’s easy to think of sweets, chips, and junk food as big “no-no’s” in the world of weight loss, many people overlook the diet-wreckers hiding in their refrigerator.
As you peruse your refrigerator shelves, be wary of these foods that are high in calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugars.
A teaspoon or two of mayonnaise isn’t going to hurt you, but who uses such a small amount? As a spread on your sandwich or filler for your chicken salad, you’re likely using several tablespoons of mayonnaise. But did you know that just one tablespoon contains roughly 100 calories and 10 grams of fat?
To get your mayo fix without losing your health, switch out your regular mayonnaise for a light variety, use less of it, or try a lower-calorie condiment like mustard, BBQ sauce, or pesto.
Deli meats, hot dogs, and sausage may make quick, yummy meals but they’re often full of sodium, fat, and preservatives. A diet high in sodium and unhealthy fats can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Nitrates and nitrites are preservatives found in many processed meats and have been linked to colon cancer.
What to do? Unless you buy brands of deli meat made with reduced sodium and no added preservatives, skip processed meats altogether and eat fresh sliced chicken, turkey, or roast beef instead.
Thousand Island, ranch, or blue cheese—take your pick. Two tablespoons of any one of these creamy dressings add an average of 120 calories, 380 milligrams of sodium, and 12 grams of fat to your salad. But who uses only two tablespoons?
Of course, no one wants to eat salad without dressing. So limit the amount you use or choose another dressing with an olive oil and vinegar base.
Sodas, sports drinks, sweet tea, and fruit punch offer little to no nutrients and are filled with sugars and empty calories. One can of soda contains an average of 140 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar! And don’t think you’re safe with diet drinks. Both regular and diet sodas are associated with high blood pressure, insulin resistance, weight gain, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Thirsty? Drink water. Then occasionally enjoy unsweetened tea, milk, or 100-percent juice.
Butter and Margarine
Spread it on toast, melt it on your baked potato, or use it to sauté your onions. Whether you’ve got butter or margarine in your fridge, they’re both high in saturated fat. One tablespoon of butter contains 7 grams of saturated fat and a tablespoon of margarine has 2 grams. They’ll both cost you about 100 calories per tablespoon. While butter’s high in cholesterol (31 milligrams), margarine contains 0 milligrams.
Though margarine is a bit better for you, make the even better choice to switch to olive or canola oil for your baking and cooking needs or use whipped butter or a reduced-fat margarine when possible.
When enjoyed in moderation, there may be health benefits of alcohol. But anyone trying to lose weight would do well to cut back on alcoholic beverages. Every alcoholic beverage contains empty calories that turn to fat in your liver.
How many calories? A single 12-ounce can of beer contains 150 calories, an 8-ounce glass of wine contains 170 calories, and a one and a half ounce shot of liquor will run you 105 calories.
How can you maintain your figure and enjoy a drink now and then? Sip slowly or share.
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