Companies are notorious for tricking consumers into thinking that their products are healthy. I’ll admit that I’ve been deceived by a few of these marketing ploys, too. If I saw the word “organic” or “healthy” on a package, I’d throw it in the cart without a second thought. I thought I was making great choices that would help me on my weight loss journey, but in reality those products actually should be on a list of foods not to eat when losing weight. It wasn’t until I did some research that I discovered these so-called “health” foods weren’t actually healthy. Once I stopped buying and eating them, I actually started to make progress with my weight loss plan.
Many companies use social media marketing, print advertisement, and TV commercials to lure consumers into their health trap. They declare that their products are healthy when they’re actually full of unhealthy fats, salt, and added sugars. Not to mention all those unnatural, harmful ingredients that are more likely to make you gain weight than lose it. To stay away from the trap, we want to educate you on these 5 “healthy” foods not to eat when losing weight. If you can stay away from them (like I did), you’ll be able to lose those extra pounds!
“Healthy” Foods Not to Eat When Losing Weight
These “healthy” foods are actually incredibly unhealthy, and I don’t want you to learn about them the hard way. It made me miserable when I gained weight even after sticking to my workout plan and eating all the “right” foods (you know, the ones I thought were healthy but really were not). I was so confused – why wasn’t I feeling energized after eating? As it turns out, these foods were high on the list of “healthy” foods not to eat when losing weight. I don’t want you to feel that way, so let’s say “no” to these foods and start feeling great for a happier, healthier, and thinner you.
1. Store-Bought Trail Mix
Trail mix is often seen as a good snack option while dieting, but many store-bought mixes are actually filled with excess sugars and salts. When I began my fitness journey, I was under the impression that eating the trail mix would be good for my waistline. Little did I know that it was actually one of the foods preventing me from losing weight – especially the bags with all those M&M’s candies along with sugar-filled dried fruit pieces. That’s a lot of unnatural, unnecessary sugar for something that is supposed to be healthy.
Now that I know that trail mix options from the grocery store are not healthy (despite the label on the bag), I make my own trail mix. It’s great to know exactly what you’re putting into your body, and it’s also fun to choose your own flavors. You can make a small batch or a larger batch so there are lots of leftovers. Sometimes, I’ll throw together two small batches of trail mix so that I have two different flavors in one bag.
I am (and always have been) a huge fan of cereal. In my opinion, Saturday mornings are still for eating cereal and watching cartoons even though I’m an adult. Sadly, most cereals – especially the most popular ones that you loved growing up as a kid – are more likely to add to your waistline than take away from it. Just like trail mix, many cereals contain more sugar than you want to consume and a ton of sodium, too.
Don’t despair, though, because there are plenty of cereal brands that are healthy for you and can help to promote weight loss. In order to find these cereals, you have to go to the healthy section of the grocery store. Then, you’ll need to search for a few key descriptors on the box and in the ingredients list. These things include, but are not limited to:
- Whole grains
- No artificial flavors
- USDA certified organic
- No added sugar
If you’re not sure where to start, check out these 13 Ways to Make Your Own Breakfast Cereal.
I can hear you now. You’re thinking, “Wait, but I thought yogurt was one of the best foods you could eat?” Well, that’s both true and false. Yogurt can be one of the best foods to eat when losing weight, but not all yogurts are created equal.
Most yogurts actually do fall under “healthy” foods not to eat when losing weight. The reason behind this is that most yogurts that you find in the store are full of refined sugars. This means that instead of helping you lose weight, they’re keeping you from losing weight.
I know, I know. This one hurts. Yogurt has always been and will always be a love of mine. So, it really stung when I found out how much my beloved yogurts had betrayed me.
Fortunately, soon after, I also found out that not all of my beloved yogurts were hindering my weight loss progress. Some yogurts and yogurt recipes truly are healthy and free of refined sugars. You just need to be sure to read the labels and ingredient lists!
As a rule of thumb, I always opt for plain yogurts and then sweeten them with natural sweeteners. My favorite ways to sweeten up my yogurts are with honey and fresh fruit. We have tons of yogurt recipes that follow this refined sugar-free rule such as:
- Berry and Chia Yogurt Parfait
- How to Make Greek Yogurt
- Breakfast Yogurt Parfait To Go
4. Frozen “Healthy” Meals
Frozen diet meals are filled with preservatives and excessive amounts of sodium. I used to purchase these meals when I was in a hurry – and I’m pretty much always in a hurry. That means I’ve eaten a lot of these types of meals! They never really made me feel good, though. The sodium content caused me to bloat up.
I was working out all the time while I was eating these foods, but instead of feeling more and more comfortable in my skin due to daily exercise, I was actually feeling super uncomfortable because of the bloating. I thought that I would start to wear tighter clothes to show off my toned body, but instead I found myself buying looser shirts because I was embarrassed of my bloated belly.
Then, I realized that these frozen diet meals were one of the causes of my bloating (along with the other foods on this list). I stopped eating them right away! If you’re wondering how I eat healthy dinners now that I don’t have the false luxury of heating up a frozen meal when I get home, I’ll let you in on my secret: slow cooker meals. I just put all of the ingredients for a recipe into my slow cooker before I leave the house in the morning, and dinner is ready for me when I come home!
The slow cooker is even more convenient than those awful frozen dinners, and these slow cooker dinners don’t leave me feeling bloated or sluggish. Some of my favorite slow cooker recipes include:
- Slow-Cooker Vegetable Chili
- Slow Cooker Eggplant Lasagna
- Slow Cooker White Cheddar Broccoli Mac & Cheese
- Slow-Cooker Protein Chicken Tacos
5. Energy Bars & Granola Bars
People often say that healthy foods taste bad. Although I strongly disagree, I’ll even hear my own friends and family members respond to my food by saying things like, “Wow, this is good! It doesn’t even taste healthy!” I hear the same responses from people who are eating popular energy bars and granola bars.
The difference is that the bars they’re eating actually aren’t healthy. When they remark how good one of those bars tastes, their taste buds are tickled because the ingredients list is filled with salt and unnatural sweeteners. My response usually is, “Yeah, it tastes so good because it’s not that healthy for you.”
It’s not fun to see my friends and family members grow disappointed in themselves and the bars they just spent money on. It’s even worse to know that they’re going to gain weight (the same weight they’re trying to lose) just because of the ingredients in a store-bought bar. When I switched my snacking habits to ditch the granola and energy bars in lieu of healthy snacks like apples, carrots, and homemade no-bake energy bites, I noticed a major difference in my body. It was such a positive difference that I tell all my friends how easy it is to make this switch!
Instead, Make DIY Granola and Energy Bars
Here, at SkinnyMs, we have shared numerous DIY bar recipes that taste even better than the unhealthy store bought ones you might currently have in your pantry. If you don’t believe me, check out 6 DIY Granola Bars and 13 DIY Clean Eating Energy and Protein Bars! You’re sure to change your mind about energy and protein bars after falling in love with some (or all) of these bars.
Not only that, but you’ll love how much healthier, lighter, and leaner you feel after removing many of these unhealthy “health” foods not to eat when losing weight. Now that you know all of these health food secrets, it’s up to you to optimize your health through healthy eating!