Last month I shared with y’all some breakfast options that can seem healthy but are not. Today I want to continue my previous post by sharing with you some lunch and dinner options that can trick you into thinking that you’re eating something nutritious when they’re actually giving your body a high dose of sugars and unhealthy fats.
Ideally you want to get most of your foods from nature. Artificial and pre-packaged foods shouldn’t represent more than 20% of your diet, and the less ingredients they contain, the better. Also, avoid everything that has refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup—don’t forget to read labels!
-Sushi rolls: Japanese and Asian foods can be a great route to go when eating out, but a lot of their dishes can be packed with unhealthy calories. Very often, sushi rolls are made with fried shrimp or veggies and cream cheese and also have creamy dressings. Swap: Order rolls that are completely raw or that have steamed veggies; leave the cream cheese out, and only use low-sodium soy sauce. Some restaurants can substitute brown rice instead of white rice, so ask your server!
-Salads: You may be thinking that I’m crazy for including salads in this list, but the truth is that they’re not always healthy like we believe! Veggies are always welcomed, but dressings can easily sabotage us. Avoid creamy dressings, like Caesar and blue cheese. These are super processed and full of unnecessary fats. If you want to add a dressing, always go for the oil-based ones, like balsamic vinaigrette, but be careful because the fruity ones are usually super processed and full of sugars. Swap: Ideally order your salads with no dressing and ask for balsamic vinegar and lemon to make your own. You can also add a tbsp. of olive oil. If you’re eating at home, you can use guacamole or hummus as a creamy rich sauce that will add tons of nutrients and flavor to your salads!
-Soups: This is another option that can be either super healthy or unhealthy. A stock with veggies and protein, a vegetable-based soup, or a minestrone are great options, but when we talk about creams and chowders, we’re going the wrong way. Clam chowder, she-crab soup, and bisques use tons of heavy cream as their base. These can be delicious on special occasions; just don’t make them part of your everyday life. Swap: Opt for stock-based soups and homemade vegetables creams with no dairy. If you make them at home, you can always use a nut milk (like almond or cashew) as a substitute for regular cream. Also, add potatoes for extra creaminess!
Indulging here and there is good for your mind and your soul, but when we’re trying to make changes to live healthier or lose some weight, we need to be conscious and ask ourselves, “how much nutrition is this meal giving my body?” You always have choices, and it’s up to you to make the ones that will take you closer to your health goals.
Claudia Deen is a Certified Health Coach based in Savannah, GA, and the founder of The Trendy Smoothie. Claudia is a brown belt in karate, thirteen-time half-marathon finisher, seven-time marathon finisher, and two-time Ironman 70.3 finisher. After a career in advertising, her passion for fitness and fresh eating led to a career centered on helping others achieve a healthier lifestyle. In 2013, Claudia married Paula’s son, Bobby. You can follow Claudia on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.