Contributed by- Dr. Snehal Singh
Planning for a healthy diet? Looking out for the best food to eat? First, check what’s there in your fridge. Know if some foods stocked up in your fridge are truly worth it or if they qualify for an unhealthy diet. We all are aware of the junk food problems and often try to avoid them. But little do we realize that our fridge too stores many foods that we actually need to stay away from. Let us look at some of the unhealthy foods in the fridge and their impact on our health.
The top 8 worst foods in your fridge include:
Refined grains and bakery products
White bread, pizza, burger bread or bakery products like cakes, muffins or doughnuts are commonly stuffed into the fridge. Made of refined grains, these foods are high in sugar and calories but low in fiber and nutrition. In the long run, it can increase the risk of weight gain and high blood sugar.
You can choose to have some good foods like whole wheat or multigrain bread or prepare some home-made whole grain healthy bakes and eat them fresh.
While salads are considered healthy foods, salad dressings can be just the opposite. Mayonnaise and salad dressings are often loaded with sugar, fats and other preservatives, which are harmful to health.
Adding herbs and spices to your salad can be just perfect. Olive oil, mustard oil or plain yogurt dressing can be a better option for dressing lovers.
Sauces & Ketchup
Ketchup and several sauces find their way into the fridge only to remain there for months. They too contain high amounts of sugar and sodium, apart from artificial colors and flavors, which can raise blood sugar level and blood pressure.
Freshly prepared sauce or dips made from fruits or veggies with added herbs like mint or basil is a healthier option. You can add some yogurt for a thick consistency.
Juices, colas, energy drinks, and bottled teas are often found in the fridge for a quick grab. But they too are loaded with sugar and can only add to calories without any nutrition. They can give an energy boost but will soon bring you down only to leave you feeling more lethargic.
Water is the best drink to have in between your meals as it maintains hydration and makes you feel less hungry. For healthy drink options, you can choose to have green tea, black tea, black coffee or buttermilk.
Ice-creams and Flavoured yogurt
These may seem like sweet treats but they too are some of the foods to void. Apart from being high in flavors and sugar, these can act as trigger foods and you may end up consuming more than you planned – resulting in more calories, more weight!
You can limit the portion size for such foods and keep it as an occasional treat. Even better adding fruit to yogurt or preparing frozen fruit or ice pops at home can be a great idea.
These are some of the high-fat foods to avoid and must be kept away. Regular consumption of these foods can increase your risk of high blood sugar, high cholesterol, blood pressure as they are loaded with fats, salt and preservatives.
Instead of processed meats, freshly prepared lean meats, eggs, and fatty fish are the best to have. You can add spices of your choice and keep it low in fats and salt.
Ready to cook snacks
Be it French fries, other snacks or ready to cook soups, they are certainly some of the foods to avoid. These may be tasty and quick to cook but can be low in nutrition and high in saturated fats, salts, and preservatives. These foods can be prepared in a healthy way at home with limited fat and salt.
Some healthier snacking options would include fruits, nuts, seeds, freshly cut cucumber rings or carrot sticks.
Frozen foods can be simply considered as bad food if you are planning for a healthy diet. They are often loaded with sodium, sugar, and fat that raises the risk of many health problems.
If time is a constraint, quick healthy foods like plain yogurt, freshly prepared soups or oatmeal can be opted for. Fruits and vegetables are healthy options, but only when they are fresh.
How can these foods affect your health?
These foods are best avoided as they have a negative impact on health. Be it refined, preserved, processed, frozen or ready to cook foods – all can raise your risk of serious lifestyle disorders. Most foods are packed with excess sugar, sodium, saturated or trans fats, artificial flavors and preservatives. Such foods are not only bad for those watching their weight and blood sugar but also harmful for those who have headaches and digestive problems. These bad foods can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart diseases, and even cancers.
Are there any healthier options?
Here are some replacements of unhealthy foods or better alternatives to manage a healthy diet plan.
Healthy eating is all about cooking and storing the food in the healthiest possible way. You can choose to buy limited portions as per your meal plans and avoid storing in the fridge for too long. Storing foods in the refrigerator can change their chemical properties and nutritive value to some extent. While it is ok to store some leftover portions for a while, keeping them for too long can promote bacterial growth.
Rotten fruits and veggies or leftovers kept for long are surely amongst the worst foods in your fridge. So are alcoholic beverages. Hence, it is best to avoid these foods that make an unhealthy diet and replacing these with healthy foods.
Healthy cooking and storing can help promote better health. So begin by clearing your fridge and plan healthy eating for your family.
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