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Top Ten Foods to Avoid When Changing to a Healthier Lifestyle

Top Ten Foods to Avoid When Changing to a Healthier Lifestyle

Instant Noodles

While it’s convenient to stock up on “instant” foods for a rainy day (or a difficult day or a Monday or because there’s one cloud in the sky), instant noodles are made of bleached wheat flour and contain large amounts of sodium and saturated fat. These also contain MSG, which increases hunger and causes you to eat more. Taking more trips to the kitchen might add to your daily step count, but doubling your calorie intake is a step in the wrong direction.

Processed Meats

Smoked or cured meats such as deli meats, bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats are preserved using nitrites. Consuming large amounts of processed meats over time can lead to certain types of cancer. While we want our energy to multiply exponentially, we certainly don’t want our cells to do the same!

Coffee Drinks

Before you bite our heads off in a caffeinated rage, we are not telling you to quit your favorite cup of joe! Just watch what else you pour into your cup. The deliciously rich coffee creamer you stir into your coffee every morning may affect your health in the long run. Coffee creamer contains thickening agents that can cause digestive issues, which aren’t as delicious. Other add-ins such as flavoring syrup can also add unnecessary sugar to your caffeine fix.

Foods with Added Sugar

Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains contain natural sugars that provide calories for your body to use as energy. However, added sugars in foods such as candy, jams, and sugary drinks can wreak havoc on your body, which you definitely don’t need because you’re sweet enough already 😉

Packaged Popcorn

Many people consider popcorn a healthier alternative to junk food because it is a low-fat, high-fiber food. What people don’t know is that packaged popcorn actually contains large amounts of fat and the yummy buttery flavor can cause inflammation. Microwaveable popcorn alone contains a ton of preservatives that are harmful to your body. Popping those kernels yourself the old-fashioned way helps you control what goes into your popcorn-and makes you look stylishly retro. So pop on some thick-rimmed glasses and do your best Buddy Holly. That’ll be the day when you say goodbye to preservatives for good.


We regret to inform you that pasta contains high amounts of carbohydrates, which may not be the best choice when switching to a healthier lifestyle. More importantly, the sauces and other ingredients used to add flavor to your pasta are high in fat and sodium. A low-carb, fiber-filled alternative that is just as satisfying is veggie pasta. Even your most suspicious taste buds won’t be able to tell the difference!


Those with dairy allergies know to steer clear of milk, yogurt, and ice cream. But even if you’re not allergic to dairy, it may be a good idea to avoid it if you’re trying to eat healthier. Popular dairy products contain large amounts of saturated fat and can also increase your risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers. But do not fear! Dairy-free alternatives are widely available these days and equally as delectable.

Diet Soda

Diet sodas might seem like a good alternative to regular soda when you’re trying to cut back on calories. In reality, they can cause you to gain weight since artificial sweeteners trigger insulin production and can eventually lead to diabetes. Replace this addictive carbonated beverage with a more refreshing sparkling water instead. It will actually help you cut calories, and you can add a natural flavoring of your choice.

Light or Low Fat Foods

Run far, far away from “light” or “low fat” foods. It’s a trap! When something is labeled “light” or “low fat”, it is usually highly processed and contains high amounts of sugar to compensate for taste when other naughty things such as fat are removed.

Salad Dressings & Condiments

Raw veggies are always a safe bet when it comes to healthy eating, and you should definitely eat ALL the greens ALL the time! But before you go drenching your nutritious greenery with ranch, you should note that dressing adds calories, sugar, trans fats, and artificial chemicals. While we are on the subject of food toppings, you should also avoid sugary condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce. It might taste better to dress your salad, but it will be harder to dress yourself later.

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Jess Martinez (she/her)

writer, comedian, producer, fundraiser, and administrative powerhouse based in Chicago. She eats too much, laughs while she cries, and looks up words in the dictionary that she already knows just to be sure ever since she transferred out of ESL classes in 2nd grade.
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