How To Diet-Proof Your Kitchen

refridgerator( — Before you can fill your fridge with healthy food, you need to make room by dumping all the not-so-good-for-you junk.  If you keep it, it will get eaten. So grab a garbage bag and get rid of foods that are bound to sabotage your diet.

Fish, Meat and Poultry
Trash: Bacon, pulled pork, any cuts of beef that have a lot of fatty marbling, fried chicken and fried fish.

Stash: Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, turkey hotdogs, fish or shellfish. Poultry and fish are the leanest animal proteins you can eat.  If you cannot imagine your life without steak, choose lean cuts of grass-fed meat.

Trash: Sauces, gravies, spreads or dressing containing mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese sauce, cream and any condiment with more than 4 grams of sugar per serving.  Also avoid condiments where high fructose corn syrup is listed within the first five ingredients.  High fructose corn syrup triggers your body to store more fat.

Stash: Fresh garlic, salt, pepper, low-sodium soy sauce, wine vinegar, virgin olive oil, apple butter and balsamic vinegar.  You don’t need to kick ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce and salad dressing to the curb.  Look for versions of these common condiments in the organic section for products that don’t contain high fructose corn syrup.

Trash: Butter and margarine, whole milk, full-fat yogurt and all full-fat cheeses.

Stash: Plant-based spreads and olive or canola oil cooking sprays.  Margarine has less fat and cholesterol than butter but it contains synthetic fats and trans fats that can wreak havoc on any diet.  Also avoid full fat yogurts and cheeses and opt for versions made with fat-free or low-fat soy milk.  Cottage cheese, part-skim mozzarella and reduced fat feta cheese are diet-friendly alternatives to other cheeses. For those who are lactose intolerant, low-fat soy milk and cottage cheese are low fat selections that are also low in lactose.

Fruits and Vegetables
Trash: How can you go wrong with fruits and vegetables? By covering them in cheese, chocolate and other sauces. Dips, sauces and candy coverings only add unnecessary calories.

Stash: Fresh or frozen vegetables that appear to be in the same form they were in when they came from the ground. Bagged lettuce and spinach in resealable bags and pre-cut fruits and vegetables may cost a little more, but the convenience makes it more likely that you’ll reach for these when you want a quick snack.

Rice, Breads, Pastas and Cereals
Trash: Sugar-coated cereals, white rice, pastas and breads made with white flour.

Stash: Wheat or bran flakes, brown rice, 100 percent whole wheat pastas and breads and oats for oatmeal.  The fiber in whole wheat will help keep you full during the day and away from the vending machines.

  Fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice, diet drinks and of course soda. Soda, fruit drinks that are not 100-percent juice and diet drinks. Diet drinks contain artificial sweeteners that trick the brain into thinking it is actually sugar and it immediately stores the calories as fat.

Stash: Water, orange, cranberry, tomato and grapefruit juice; naturally flavored water; water flavored with real lemon or lime; coffee and tea.  Coffee and tea are full of antioxidants and, as long as you don’t drown them in sugars and creams, they are okay to have everyday. If you need to add some flavor to your coffee try using skim milk and a tablespoon of real sugar. One tablespoon of real sugar is only 16 calories.  For tea, try honey instead of sugar.

Pre-Prepared Meals
Trash: Most frozen dinners, pizzas, deserts and snacks.

Stash: Frozen store-bought meals should contain no more than 4 grams of sugar and saturated fat per serving and no more than 400 mg of sodium.  The healthiest way to benefit from frozen meals is to cook and freeze meals yourself.  Prepare a week’s worth of meals on the weekends and package them in portion sizes in freezer safe containers.

Trash: Cookies, crackers, pastries, microwave popcorn, chips, cakes and fat-free ice cream. You read right; fat-free ice cream is a no-no because the fat that is taken out of ice cream to make it fat-free is replaced by a whole lot of sugar.

Stash: Walnuts and almonds, dried fruits, popcorn kernels, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and dark chocolate with 70 percent cacao. It’s not realistic to swear off all snacks. The key to snacking is to snack smart and limit your choices. The more choices you give yourself for snacks, the more likely you are to overindulge.

Now all this said, we’re not saying to never indulge in something a little “extra” from time to time. But studies do show that it’s just not a great idea to have too many of those “extras” lurking at home, convenient and just waiting for time that you need them the least.