A few general rules (from Kate):
1) Anytime you leave your house to eat somewhere where you did not prepare the meal/food you are eating, you are eating fast food/eating out. Some people do not make the connection between fast food and some stores or restaurants. McDonald’s and Burger King are not the only fast food places. WaWa is fast food. Subway is fast food. Coffee Bistros are fast food. Even nicer restaurants, like Lucky Bones, serve a majority of fast, unhealthy food.
Therefore, eating outside the home should be a “treat” that you indulge in no more than 2-3 times per week. All other meals should be prepared at home, or, if purchased out, should be whole food such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
2) Look at nutritional labels. Always look at “serving size”, then continue down to “calories” per serving size, and mostly look at “sugars”. You want to keep sugar intake to a minimum every day. The recommended amount per day for a non-diabetic person is 40 grams. This refers to “added sugar”. Fruit has natural sugar, and is not included in the recommended daily allowance. However, definitely do not overdue natural sugar. Excess sugar intake which not only comes from added sugar cane or high fructose corn syrup, but can be disguised as white bread, pasta, bagels, and other white flour foods that do not necessarily taste sweet. Also, watch for saturated fat and sodium. Those should also be kept to a minimum. Sodium is in virtually everything, and you must be careful with pre-packaged foods, especially canned foods.
Never eat baked, sweet foods! With that said, your obvious chuckle of disbelief leaves me to believe that that is not happening. So, try limiting your consumption of cookies, cakes, danishes, etc. to once or twice a week. Just like fast food, baked goods are a treat, not a necessity in your diet. There are nutritious alternatives that I will list for you.
3) Don’t drink your calories. No, I am not talking about wine. We all know that wine is essential for health! Right? Yes! Let’s quickly move on. Juice, soda, and sports drinks are loaded with added sugar. One serving of any one of these drinks will have you close to, if not exceeding, your whole days allowance of sugar.
4) Stay away from food and drinks that say “diet”, “sugar free”, “low fat”, or advertise as being a diet product in any way. Most of these products contain more chemicals than a teenage girl’s hair on prom night! And the effects of chemicals such as mannitol and sorbitol (sugar alcohols often found in diet foods) are bloating! They also tend to leave you feeling more hungry.
Were any of these “rules” surprising to you? (The baked and “low fat” product warnings came as a surprise to me.)