7 Grocery Shopping Mistakes That Could Stall Your Weight Loss Results

There are so many messages about what makes a food “healthy” that it can be easy to get fooled. These 7 foods have tripped up some of my clients and prevented them from seeing results. Here’s why and what to reach for instead:

In the Snack Aisle
Mistake: Buying puffed veggie snacks
Truth: They look like dried veggies, but the first ingredient in most is potato flour, or sometimes rice flour. Real veggies are much lower on the ingredient list, which means they make up a smaller percentage of the snack. They can also pack more sodium (up to twice as much) and you only save about 30 calories and 3 g of fat per serving compared to potato or corn tortilla chips.
Bottom line: If you need to satisfy your crunch tooth, stick with good old fashioned potato chips, as long as the only ingredients are whole potatoes, pure liquid vegetable oil (no partially hydrogenated oil) and salt. Or make your own – wash a Russet potato, slice it very thin into “chips,” rinse the slices in cold water and pat them dry, place them on a cookie sheet, mist with an herb-infused extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with cracked black pepper and bake them in a pre-heated oven at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden.

In the Meat Aisle
Mistake: Buying ground turkey
Truth: It’s not turkey vs. beef that makes ground meat leaner, it’s the percent lean - 93% lean ground beef can be just as low in calories and fat as ground turkey. The key is to find the highest percent lean you can, regardless of the protein source.
Bottom line: Look for 99% lean ground turkey – it’s pretty easy to find and has 40% fewer calories per serving than 93% or find the leanest beef or chicken cut you can buy and ask the person at the meat counter to grind it for you. Or swap ground meat for chopped mushrooms. Trading 3 ounces of 90% lean ground turkey for a half cup of chopped Portabella mushroom once a week, without making any other changes, would save you 7,280 calories a year.

In the Beverage Aisle
Mistake: Buying energy and vitamin infused drinks
Truth: Vitamin type waters and energy drinks can look healthy, but many are basically sugary water mixed with a multivitamin and the vitamins don’t cancel out the calories. If you drank just one bottle a  day and didn’t burn off the calories, you’d gain 12 pounds of body fat in a year’s time – that’s 48 sticks of butter worth of body fat. And studies show that sugary drinks aren’t filling, so you won’t compensate by eating less when you add them to your diet.  
Bottom line: Stick with plain H2O or flavored seltzer, which is naturally calorie free (no artificial stuff) and get your energy and vitamins from filling whole foods instead including organic fruits and veggies, whole grains and tea.

In the Peanut Butter Aisle
Mistake: Buying reduced fat PB
Truth: Reduced fat PB has about same number of calories per serving and usually more carbs than regular PB. That’s because carbs are added to displace the fat content (more carbs means less fat per spoonful). Plus, the fat in PB is “good” heart healthy monounsaturated fat (or MUFA), so you don’t want less per serving.
Bottom line: Stick with all natural regular PB or other natural nut butters (almond, cashew, etc.)

In the Ice Cream Aisle
Mistake: Buying frozen yogurt or reduced fat, sugar free, so-called ice cream.
Truth: It probably won’t satisfy you and you’ll probably eat twice as much or more. A half cup of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia is 250 calories but a cup of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt has 340 calories. 
Bottom line: Stick with all natural real ice cream and dish it out instead of eating it from the carton. You’ll likely feel satisfied with a half cup serving and you can load up your dish with berries or other in-season fruit. Right now, baked apple or pear slices or roasted wedges of citrus fruit like tangerines are perfect low cal, nutritious companions. Or try coconut milk ice cream (it's made with coconut milk instead of cow's milk). It's just as creamy and decadant as regular ice cream, but studies show the fat from coconuts is heart protective and slimming to your waistline! 
 
In the Candy Aisle
Mistake: Buying sugar free candy
Truth:  5 sugar free mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have 180 cals, 13 g fat and 27 g carbs. 5 regular Reese’s minis contain 210 calories, 12 g fat and 22 g of carbs. You save a mere 30 calories, but take in more fat and all in all about as many carbs as 2 slices of bread. And the sugar alcohols used in place of sugar can contribute to bloating and diarrhea.
Bottom line: Sugar free isn’t calorie free and doesn’t mean a green light to eating more. Stick with really high quality dark chocolate and savor every morsel. 

In the Dairy Aisle
Mistake: Buying 2% milk
Truth: 2% sounds lean and it is reduced fat from whole milk, but that percent represents the weight of the milk that’s fat, not the percent of calories from fat. If 2% milk wasn’t homogenized (mixed together) you’d see that over one third of each glass is pure fat, mostly saturated fat, the solid kind that clogs arteries and ups the risk of heart disease.
Bottom line: According to the Dietary Guidelines, everyone 2 years and older should be drinking 1% or skim milk which has the same amount of protein and calcium as 2%. If you like the creaminess of 2%, look for Skim Plus. It has no fat but it’s thicker and whiter from the addition of 3 extra grams of protein per cup. Or go with organic soy or hemp milk.

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