Health and Fitness By Claire Henderson / October 21, 2014 If you want to adopt healthy eating habits, then be sure to avoid the following: 1. Chocolate bars and other sugary stuff Here’s why: most of them are addictive and composed mainly of sugar and artificial color and flavor. If you read a bar label once, you’ll see how many chemicals are in it. Unless your bar is 90% cacao, you are better off without it. Most chocolate bars are made to be sweet, and even the so-called ‘healthy’ ones still have lots of chemicals and stabilizers for extended shelf life. 2. Sodas and other fizzy drinks Ever seen that video showing how much sugar is in a can of Coke? If I remember correctly, it’s about 6 tablespoons; no wonder diet coke tastes so much different from the regular one! Caffeine also contributes to its addictiveness, so just stay away from it. Dieters report that they lost a significant amount of weight just by giving up soda alone. The same goes for fizzy drinks; most of them are just artificial color and flavors and constitutes very little of the ‘fruit’ they are advertising. 3. White starches White rice, white bread, white pasta, and all white starches are less nutritious than their brown counterparts. The whiter a thing is, the more processed and refined it has been, losing the nutrients it initially had. Avoid. 4. Microwave/ instant meals We understand the convenience microwave meals offer, and while having it on occasion when otherwise you would’ve missed a meal is okay; having it on a regular basis, though, can be detrimental to your health. Most of these meals are processed and packaged to last longer and are full of chemicals that you don’t want to be eating. Most of them are also found to have high sodium content, and some contain mono sodium glutamate (MSG) for flavoring. In addition to the meal itself, studies reveal that microwave ovens emit harmful emissions, and regular use is strongly discouraged. 5. Anything coming out of a box/plastic Processed foods are never healthier than wholefoods and produce bought from the farmer’s market. Consumers buy them for the convenience not realizing that, while having these kinds of foods may add minutes in their day due to less amount of prep time involved, they can actually take off years from their lives. 6. Avoid restaurant food Here’s why: Except for a few health conscious establishments, most restaurant foods are designed to be rich, so ingredients are not so health friendly. The amount of butter, sugar, white starches, and salt that they put into each meal is crazy; just go and take a look in their kitchens. This is all for flavor: the reason why people go to restaurants to begin with. If you can help it, avoid eating out, or if you cannot, be mindful of your choices and don’t be shy to ask about the menu and their healthier options. Most restaurants will accommodate special diets like low sodium and gluten-free requests if you ask them. 7. Junk foods While the word ‘junk’ is subjective, you know what we are talking about. Potato chips like Lays and Doritos are fine occasionally, but if you are replacing meals with these bags of chips, then you obviously need to rethink your eating habits. Be mindful of the kind of snacks you have. Snacking itself is not bad, but when you constantly go for glazed donuts, ice cream, and fried fast food entrees, then it’s worth checking and maybe overhauling your diet. Go with healthier options such as corn, pineapple, bananas, and many other healthier alternatives. Some of these items are what we are used to eating, and I know it’s not that easy to give them up overnight. With commercials on TV and radio all promoting and egging consumers to buy these products, it takes will, effort, and patience to keep and maintain healthy eating habits that can serve us. Informing yourself is the first step in this life-changing journey and hopefully reading this article has been helpful to you. Do keep researching what’s current, and keep yourself up to date with the latest health and nutrition trends.