In partnership with Beata Hardzei
Sooner or later, everyone will face a moment when they’ll have to start thinking about their body and keeping it healthy. Even if you didn’t have any problems with it before, your metabolic system starts to work slower as you age. Of course, some people will never gain much weight in their adult life; nevertheless, most of us don’t have such a magical ability.
Don’t worry, though — maintaining a healthy body is not that challenging if you know what to do. And if you don’t, we’re here to help.
There are several things you should and shouldn’t do if you want to stay healthy, both mentally and physically: exercising regularly, avoiding stress (or being able to de-stress quickly), and sleeping well. And then, of course, there’s a healthy diet, which is never simple. Fruits and veggies, antioxidants, probiotics, cereal grains, free sugars, foods you’re allergic to — you need to know what you can eat and what you should avoid.
While only a professional can help you with your personal food preferences and allergies, there are some things any person should avoid to stay healthy. And we don’t mean that you should never eat them again — you can simply reduce your monthly or yearly intake of those foods. Read on to learn more about them!
1. Sugary Drinks
Can milkshakes make you gain weight? Yes. Is soda healthy? No. What about fruit juices? Even though they seem okay, you should avoid them as well. To be more precise, you should avoid any sugary drinks: they’re high in calories, but they don’t make you feel full for very long and contain a small amount of nutrients.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should give up diet coke or apple juice altogether. Just make sure to stick to your daily sugar norm: according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, calories from added sugars should make up no more than 10% of your daily intake (or 12 teaspoons for a 2000 calorie diet). That includes both beverages and other foods.
2. Potato Chips, Burgers & Fries
All the fried foods are high in calories, salt, and fats, but low in nutrients. Even though french fries are delicious, you won’t feel full for long after eating a portion of them. And neither will your after a good burger. Moreover, the meat in such a burger will provide you with more fats than proteins — cooking a lean ground beef at home without added oils would be a much healthier solution.
The situation is even worse when it comes to chips: they’re high in calories and fats and often contain dangerous sodium levels. Moreover, among all the processed foods, potato chips are the most strongly associated with weight gain.
3. Processed Meats
If you eat a lot of bacon, sausages, and hot dogs, you may be putting your health — and weight — at risk. Not only have processed meats been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, they’re also responsible for additional weight gain (almost a pound over four years, according to the researchers).
Alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink when trying to maintain a healthy body — and not only because it’s toxic, especially in high amounts. Alcohol is also a high-calorie product, and, if you prefer sweet cocktails, full of sugars, too.
Moreover, alcohol is known to trick your body into eating more. Even two cocktails can change the way you perceive food and make it taste more delicious. Because of alcohol, you can eat almost 400 extra calories a day!
Of course, it doesn’t mean you should avoid an occasional glass of wine or beer. Just make sure to reduce your monthly amount to as little as possible and take sips of water in between drinks.
5. Granola and Candy Bars
Candy bars are high in sugars and calories, so it’s clear why a person trying to maintain a healthy weight should avoid them. But what about energy and granola bars? Of course, they’re rich in fiber and protein and seem like a healthy snack. However, they often contain as much sugar as a candy bar.
If you want to have a healthy snack, consider fruits or veggies, a portion of hummus, mixed nuts, or some Greek yogurt with berries.
A Final Note
Staying healthy often seems challenging, especially if you can’t motivate yourself to exercise regularly and stick to a diet.
However, you don’t always have to change your life radically. Start with baby steps: taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking the dog more often, eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding unhealthy foods.
But what foods are especially bad for those who try to maintain weight? You may know some examples by now: sugary drinks, potato chips, processed meats, alcohol, and energy bars. Nevertheless, many other things can prevent you from staying healthy. When you’re unsure about eating something, check if it has more nutrients than sugars. Of course, you don’t have to get rid of all the unhealthy foods — but make sure they’re limited in your diet.
Eat healthy. Drink healthy. Stay healthy.