Image: One Medical
You are hungry and staring into your fridge, but is there anything healthy in there? That mouldy leftover chili may not be the only thing you should throw out. There may be secret agents in your fridge that hide empty calories, trans fats, and loads of sugar. You can help yourself make healthier choices if you keep these foods out of your fridge and freezer. Stock up on a few key staples to make sure there’s something good waiting for you. Here is a smooth and easy selection of what to keep in your refrigerator and what to throw out now.
Eat This: Plain Yogurt
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Loaded with calcium, high-quality protein, and probiotics — bacteria that are good for your gut and be linked to healthier cholesterol levels; people who eat yogurt are less likely to be obese or have heart disease, and full-fat yogurt is better for that than low-fat. Eat it with fruit or oat.
Not This: Flavoured Yogurt
Strawberry, blueberry, vanilla — a typical 6-ounce serving of flavoured yogurt has 3 times the sugar of plain. Try some plain full-fat yogurt with fresh berries and nuts. You’ll get less sugar, more fibre, and lots more nutrients. And full-fat yogurt helps curb hunger better than non-fat yogurt– and that may help you lose weight.
Drink This: 100% Fruit Juice
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Freshly squeezed juice can be a good source of certain vitamins and minerals, but because it’s almost always high in sugar, you should drink it in moderation. One way to stretch it out is to add it to your seltzer for a kind of low-calorie “soft drink” with some nutritional value.
Not This: Soda
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No surprise here. It’s loaded with empty calories and has almost no nutritional value. Pitch it: You can’t drink it if it’s not there. For an alternative, try some seltzer with a little lemon for flavour.
Eat This: Turkey
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It’s low in fat and sodium, and high in protein. And versatile, too: Wrap some turkey breast in a whole-wheat tortilla for a snack or take it to work for lunch.
Not This: Hot Dogs
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Meat that’s been processed to make it last longer (through curing or smoking, for example) has been linked to colorectal cancer and possibly stomach cancer as well. This includes hot dogs, ham, sausage, and corned beef, among others. Plus, have you heard what’s in most hot dogs? It will not make you hungry.
Eat This: Cabbage
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The humble cabbage can be more useful than you might think. It comes packed with fibre, as well as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. It’s great for coleslaw and other salads or steamed as a side dish. Cabbage also works as a kind of wrap in place of bread — a great way to cut back on calories and add nutrition.
Not This: Frozen Pizza
A typical frozen pizza is loaded with calories (1,920 in a typical “6-serving” pizza), saturated fat (30 grams), and sodium (5,040 milligrams). Keep some berries, veggies, and soup in your freezer instead: Your heart — and your waistline — will thank you for it.
Eat This: Kale
It’s is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, with only 33 calories per 2.5-ounce serving. Sautee it with chopped onion in olive oil for an easy and quick side dish for chicken and beef.
Not This: Frozen French Fries
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They’re tough to resist! Super delicious, huh? Don’t make it harder on yourself by having those delicious, fat-soaked, calorie-packed salt sticks in the freezer next to the frozen bowl of fruit. Let’s be honest: If the fries are there, there’s no way you’re choosing the fruits.
Eat This: Eggs
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They have amino acids your body needs to make your cells work, and they’re loaded with nutrients like vitamin D, which isn’t in many foods. At their price, they’re an amazing deal for such a high-quality protein.
Not This: Mayonnaise
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A tablespoon has about 110 calories. It’s too tempting to slap on a sandwich if it’s right there in the fridge, so toss the mayo.
Eat This: Avocado
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Yes, it’s full of fat, but it’s the “good” fat — the kind that is linked to good heart health and good cholesterol levels. Plus, it is delicious with eggs or spread on a thin piece of whole grain toast with nothing but salt and pepper.
Not This: Creamy Salad Dressing
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It’s often high in fat. And when it’s low-fat, it’s usually high in sugar or salt or artificial sweeteners — and filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce. It’s easy to dress your own salad with nothing but olive oil, sea salt, and a touch of vinegar — simple and delicious.
They’re low in calories and high in nutrients, antioxidants, and fibre — and that makes them good for heart and brain health, and they may help protect against certain cancers as well. Plus, they’re delicious. Use them in a salad or eat them with some yogurt and oat for dessert.
Not This: Gourmet Ice Cream
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You know which ones we’re talking about: small containers, crazy flavours, loads of fat and sugar — often more than double the number of other ice creams. The best substitute is plain yogurt with fresh berries and granola. But if you just going to have ice cream, check the fat and sugar content and choose a brand that keeps them to a minimum.
Eat This: Fresh Pasta
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It’s simple and quick and can be used as a side dish or main course. It also has a low glycaemic index, which means that it lets sugar into your bloodstream more slowly than other foods, curbing your hunger as well as the blood sugar spikes that can be bad for your health if you have diabetes.
Not This: Ketchup
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You may not think about that seemingly harmless bottle when you count the calories in your new low-sugar diet. But imagine that a quarter of it is filled with sugar — 4 grams per tablespoon — and that might change your view. Try a little spicy homemade marinara sauce with those eggs instead.
Eat This: Salsa
Make some yourself — it’s a healthy, easy way to put some zip into egg dishes, soups, and sauces. Use it instead of oily dressings on vegetables and heartier salads, too. But be forewarned: Health benefits decline, in a big way, if you eat it with a giant bag of heavily salted, processed, deep-fried corn chips.
Not This: Tonic Water
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The quinine that gives tonic water its unique bitter taste is sweetened to the tune of 124 calories per 12-ounce bottle — that’s almost the same as cola. If you use it as a cocktail mixer, try some club soda and lime instead — it works well and has far fewer calories.