Sparkpeople is an Internet fitness and nutrition site that was first launched in 2001 to help people set goals. As they discovered most of their clientele were interested primarily in nutrition and fitness, they added tools, such as a fitness tracker and meal planner, and became a paid subscription site. In 2005 SparkPeople.com decided to help the world become healthier and began offering all their tools and resources free of charge, so that everyone could reach their goals.
SparkPeople is a community of individuals supporting each other in their diet and fitness goals. As far as diet and fitness are concerned, most sparkpeople agree: Eat a balanced diet of healthful foods, drink plenty of water, and exercise to stay healthy. In order to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories, and exercise to build muscle and burn excess calories and fat. A balanced diet consists of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and nutrients. Avoiding the following foods will aid you in making better food choices.
1. Alcoholic Beverages
Besides being high in calories, they can lower your resistance, thus you may overeat or eat foods you normally would avoid.
2. Fried Foods
A medium hard-boiled egg contains about 65 calories and 4.4 gm fat, but a fried egg has about 90 calories and 7 gm fat; a 1 cup serving of oven-baked potato wedges made with olive oil cooking spray contains about 175 calories and 1 gm fat, whereas a serving of French fries has 340 calories and 16 gm fat.
3. Sugary Foods and Drinks
A teaspoon of sugar contains 15 calories. A 12 oz. can of cola has 9.6 tsp., or just about ¼ cup sugar. Substitute Stevia, which now comes in convenient packets, in your coffee, tea and cereal. Read the label for hidden fat in “sugar-free” foods.
4. Salty Foods
Excess sodium causes you to retain water, resulting in elevated blood pressure, not to mention extra pounds on the scale. Because of the large amount of salt and little fiber, pretzels top the list of foods often mistaken as healthy.
5. Sauces and Gravies
Made with pan drippings, cream, butter, flour, cornstarch, or sugar, sauces and gravies these calories can quickly add up.
6. Processed Foods
The more ingredients listed on the label, the farther from natural it becomes. Processing removes nutrients and may add artificial and sometimes harmful ingredients as MSG, Nitrates, Nitrites, and other additives with long names.
7. Restaurant and Fast Foods
If you must eat out, most restaurants are happy to accommodate you when you ask for oil and vinegar dressing on the side or that they remove the skin from chicken, broil meat, steam vegetables, etc. Appetizers are notoriously high in calories. Turn down the giveaways — peanuts, chips and salsa, bread — and ask for a small dinner salad instead. Fast food is a little more difficult, but not impossible. Many offer healthy choices, or substitutions may be allowed.
These foods are not absolutely forbidden, the key is moderation. Allow yourself carefully measured servings so that you don’t feel deprived. Read the labels, and avoid foods where the first few items listed are sugar, white flour, fat or salt.