Bad nutrition can be sneaky. Foods that seem innocuous (like a wheat bagel) are suddenly enemies of your waistline (cream cheese, anyone?). Eating healthy is all about paying attention to food preparation and making informed decisions. Check your pantry for these “repeat offenders” and replace them with healthier alternatives.
- Plain old white rice: It’s bland, it’s boring, it’s … devoid of nutritional value. And we cover it in gravy, butter, or salt to give it flavor. If you need something starchy, switch to brown rice. Or even better, roast a sweet potato.
- Stick margarine: Stick margarine might have less cholesterol than real butter, but it’s loaded with trans fats. Put all-fruit jam on your toast in the morning, and cook with olive oil instead of margarine.
- Canned soups and vegetables: High in sodium and low in vitamins, canned soups and veggies stay fresh because they’re full of preservatives. Be sure to read the labels before you even put these items in your cart at the grocery store.
- Sugary drinks: Sodas aren’t the only culprits here! Check that “fruit” juice and see how sugary it really is. Cut down on the sodas, and if you can’t do without the fruit juice, mix it with sparkling water or look for unsweetened versions.
- Processed meats: Hot dogs and bologna may make a quick and easy snack for the kids, but they’re generally high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Some also contain nitrites. Opt for freshly roasted meats for those sandwiches.
- Prepackaged side dishes: That box of rice or gratin potatoes makes a quick and easy side dish after a long day of work. But that box contains a few ingredients you probably weren’t counting on: sodium and preservatives.
- Chips, crackers, and cookies: We all crave snacks sometimes, but ditch the empty-calorie snacks. Instead of filling the pantry with junk, fill your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies. These alternatives are more nutritious—and more filling.
Tweaking those grocery shopping habits can help you vastly improve your heart health—and your overall health. If you’d like to know more about healthy eating, please contact us here at Central Florida Regional Hospital. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-445-3392 for answers to your questions and free referrals to healthcare experts in the Seminole and West Volusia County area.