Don’t Let These Mistakes Wreck Your Healthy Meals

It’s the sneaky stuff that can sabotage your plans to eat healthy. You draw up a meal schedule that concentrates on balanced nutrition, but unintentional errors can undo the work you put into it. Since a few bad choices may undermine your good intentions, don’t veer off the road to good health by running into these mistakes that can ultimately wreck your healthy meals.

You are not eating enough protein.

Adding more protein to your diet can help curb your appetite and boost your metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn at rest). Other benefits of eating enough protein include increasing muscle mass, strengthening bones and lowering blood pressure. Try topping your food with chopped almonds, choose Greek yogurt over regular, or try adding protein powder to the smoothie you’re making.

You don’t put down the saltshaker as often as you should

Keep on shaking and your healthy dish is transformed into a sodium bomb. Don’t unconsciously blow your suggested daily salt intake of 2,400 mg a day.

You’re not making a healthy breakfast 

Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast with protein and healthy fats is the best way to start the day. There is no rule that says you must eat breakfast in the morning if you don’t want to, but you should make sure the first meal of the day is a healthy one. Skip the breakfast cereals loaded with sugar and enjoy nutrient-rich eggs with vegetables or oatmeal with fruit.

You may be using the wrong fats and oils

Simply replacing trans fats and high Omega-6 vegetable oils with healthy, traditional fats can give you impressive health benefits and make your body function better. Stick with saturated or monosaturated fats such as olive oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil or avocado oil. Whole nuts also are an excellent source of fat.

If the label says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” you’re eating trans fats. Refined vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil are unnaturally high in Omega-6 fatty acids. Avoid them.

You’re overusing condiments and salad dressing.

A heavy hand with bottled salad dressings can overwhelm the power of your greens. Add an extra dollop of mayonnaise or creamy sauce and you’ve increased your sodium, calorie and fat intake altogether. Make your own healthy alternatives at home and portion out the right serving size for the meal.

You’re drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices.

Sugar is bad news but drinking your sugar in liquid form is the worst news.

The brain doesn’t “register” liquid sugar calories the same way it recognizes calories from other foods. Your brain recognizes “whole” foods, and so you feel full and eat less when you dine on them.

You haven’t found a workout you love.

Finding a workout that you enjoy and that you can stick with is just as important as nutrition when it comes to optimal health. It can improve both your physical and mental health.

You rely on unhealthy snacks.

You’re busy and suddenly you’re hungry but you don’t have time to cook up something healthy. There’s no quality, whole food anywhere in the house. Don’t keep processed, snacks on hand or you’ll be tempted when faced with a snack attack. Many packaged trail mixes contain highly processed sweeteners and trans fats along with sugary candies and super-salty seasoned munchies.

Fruit, hard boiled eggs, a bag of baby carrots or a handful of nuts are all easily portable. For a full meal, look for fast food places that serve healthy foods. Keep a list of places that have healthier food options, so you always have options away from home.

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