There are certain measures we should take to ensure our health is in top shape. For instance, the most important aspect of staying healthy is keeping a close eye on the fuel we provide our bodies. Food is the backbone of our entire system. If we feed it garbage, then odds are we will encounter serious issues. However, certain foods can cause a change in many things, from cholesterol and blood sugar levels to more energy and muscle growth. It all comes down to what we ingest. With this in mind, you should keep track of what you consume. Below are 26 foods you should completely avoid to keep your health in great condition, and save yourself some money as well.
26. Parmigiano–Reggiano Cheese
Shavings of this cheese can perfectly compliment any plate of pasta or vegetables and turn any dish into a delicious one. But save yourself the money when purchasing this expensive cheese, and instead look for a variety of Pecorino Romano and SarVecchio that can offer the same taste for half the price.
25. Smoked and Cured Meats
From fancy charcuterie to dollar dog night, you should consider on passing on cured meats in all forms, as they’ve been linked to cancer, disease, high blood pressure, and even migraines. Not to mention, these tasty meats are packed with artery-clogging grease.
24. Blueberry Items
Blueberries are incredibly healthy, as they are filled with antioxidants, and now you can find them in almost everything from breakfast cereal to muffins, granola bars, and sauces. But are they really healthy? Turns out they’re not as healthy as you’d think they are, as most products on grocery store shelves don’t even have actual berries, just artificial flavoring.
23. Multi-Grain Bread
If you decide to eat multi-grain bread, you should be absolutely sure that whole wheat is the main ingredient; otherwise, you’ll be eating a few grains mixed into plain white bread. If you’re not too sure as to what bread to eat, you should scratch it from your diet and stick to barley, brown rice, quinoa, and steel-cut oats.
22. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
When fat is taken out of foods, food makers are forced to add something to put the taste back into them. In most cases, as it is with peanut butter, that ingredient is a lot of sugar. Instead of using reduced fat peanut butter, try the regular spread on your sandwich for more good fats and protein without fake sweetness.
21. Bottled Tea
A bottle of store-bought tea can be refreshing and delicious, but bottled teas can have more grams of sugar than a soda or a slice of pie. Instead, try brewing your own tea at home to save your waistline and your money.
20. Tomato-Based Pasta Sauce
A regular jar of tomato sauce can cost you anywhere from $2 to $6, but the equivalent amount of canned tomatoes is sometimes under $1. But to really get your money’s worth (or just eat tasty and healthy sauce), make your own from fresh tomatoes. The easiest way is to put crushed tomatoes into a skillet, stir in some wine or wine vinegar, some sugar, your favorite herbs, and any chopped vegetables you like, such as peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Let it all simmer together for about an hour.
Eating fish can be a great and healthy alternative to red meats, especially if you’re trying to watch your cholesterol levels and are trying to consume more omega-3. But often lost in translation is the high levels of mercury found in fish, such as large bottom-feeder fish like tuna, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish. Instead, try going for smaller fish such as flounder, catfish, sardines, and salmon.
18. Energy Drinks
When we need a quick pick-me-up, we often turn to drinks high in caffeine, and more often than not go for energy drinks. Instead of these drinks, which have been reported to the FDA numerous times for the possibility of causing heart attacks, convulsion, and even death, stick to coffee.
17. Gluten-Free Baked Goods
With today’s trending diet habits, people often give up or take on foods that really do more harm than good. If you haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, then it is highly likely that you don’t need to eat gluten-free. Not to mention, gluten-free baked goods like bread, cookies, and crackers are often packed with more refined flours, artificial ingredients, and sugar than common baked goods.
16. Flavored Non-Dairy Milk
As delicious as they may be, flavored non-dairy milk is definitely not on the healthy list. Let’s face it, vanilla-eggnog-caramel soy milk isn’t the healthiest option. If you’re looking for non-dairy milk due to personal dietary restrictions, then the best way to go is to buy unsweetened versions.
15. White Rice
We’ve often heard that white rice should be avoided, but this one does seem to hold up. Skip the refined grains and go for brown rice. A 17 percent higher risk of diabetes is linked to eating five or more servings of white rice per week, compared to eating white rice less than once a month.
14. Gourmet Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are a great tool for those of us who are constantly in a hurry, and sometimes buying an 8-ounce packet of peas in an herbed butter sauce may seem like a good idea. But why buy some when you can make your own? It’s as simple as cooking the peas, adding a pat of butter and sprinkling in some of your favorite herbs.
13. Microwave Sandwiches
Premade sandwiches are expensive for only one reason: the packaging. Plus, they contain loads of salt, fat, and unnecessary additives. For the price of a pre-packaged sandwich, you can make yourself a bigger and more nutritious version.
12. Frozen Fruit Bars
As you’ve probably seen while strolling through the frozen section of your favorite supermarket, fruit and juice bars aren’t rich in calories but are rich in price. Instead, try making your own at home to get the flavors you like and avoid the hassle of looking through the boxes of sold-out flavors.
11. Boxed Rice Entrée or Side Dish Mixes
These boxed items basically consist of rice, salt, and spices, yet the price is much higher than the ingredients are when sold individually. While there may be added flavors included, they are ones that you most likely have in your pantry already.
10. Energy or Protein Bars
The bars are marketed to be a healthy alternative to candy bars, but unfortunately, they are incredibly high in fat and sugar. Not to mention, they can cost you two or three times more than a regular candy bar. If you feel you need a boost, grab a piece of fruit, yogurt, or a handful of nuts.
9. Spice Mixes
Spice mixes might seem like a great investment, since they encompass a variety of different herbs and spices that you would otherwise have to purchase individually. However, if you look closer you will see that many spices mixes list salt, followed by the vague “herbs and spices” that can mean almost anything.
8. Powdered Iced Tea Mixes or Prepared Flavored Iced Tea
They are as easy to make as they are to buy, and are quite handy when it comes to summer days with family and friends. But the truth is that it is much cheaper to make your own, and not to mention, much tastier too! Plus, many mixes and preparations are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, along with artificial flavors.
7. Bottled Water
Bottled water is considered to be a bad investment for several reasons, one being its cost and the other the toll it takes on the environment by using fossil fuels to produce and ship all those bottles.
6. Salad Kits
Buying bagged and pre-washed greens can be a great time-saver, but they can also cost about three times as much as buying a head of lettuce. If you’ve ever purchased a salad kit, then you probably know how much more expensive they can be. While you do get some greens, a tiny bag of dressing and a few croutons, it may be wise to skip these all together and save yourself the money.
5. Individual Servings of Anything
They may be small in quantity and keep your portions in control, but the truth is that these 100-calorie snack packs are a way for food makers to get more money from you. The price per unit cost of these single items is significantly more than if you would have just bought the big box and split it up yourself.
4. Trail Mix
While you may be inclined to buy a small bag of trail mix that can cost you about $10 a pound, you should think twice and instead make your own at home that can cost you way less! Not to mention you can include the things you like rather than picking out the ones you don’t.
3. Snack or Lunch Packs
These all-inclusive food trays may seem as if they are reasonably priced, but in reality you’re actually paying for the gourmet label, wrapper, and especially the tray. Not to mention, the few crackers and small pieces of cheese and lunch meat are filled with salt.
2. Gourmet Ice Cream
It can be excruciating to see someone purchase a $6 gallon of a gourmet brand ice cream. Is it worth it? Probably not. There’s usually at least one brand in the freezer aisle that is on sale and you can dress up with your favorite additives like bits of chocolate or cookie and save yourself the $6.
1. Pre-Formed Meat Patties
Frozen burgers, beef or others can be more expensive than buying regular ground meat in bulk and making yourself the patties. There’s also some evidence that pre-formed patties contain more E. coli than regular meat.