Summer means grilling and parties. It is a time of year when it is easy to pick up foods in bulk. Store bought cupcakes, macaroni salad, burgers, hot dogs, marshmallows and smores – you might see all of these things, and more, at your backyard parties this year. In fact, if you’re the type of person who has many BBQs or attends many BBQs over the summer, you probably eat them every week throughout the whole summer. As you go out to buy all of these classics, and maybe find some nifty alternatives, here is a list of things that you should just avoid altogether.
- Store Bought Veggie-Burgers
Veggie burgers are healthy! When planning your cookouts and parties, you might be tempted to pick up some frozen veggie patties from the store. But, those veggie burgers that you buy from the store can be filled with fillers that make the veggie burger surprisingly unhealthy. You’re better off having fresh veggie burgers. However, if you must by them, be sure to make sure that the vegetables are at the beginning of the ingredients list!
- Baked Beans
Don’t get us wrong, beans are really healthy for you. However, baked beans contain sugar, syrup and molasses that all add up to an incredibly high calorie count. That doesn’t mean that you have to say bye to your beans altogether. There are plenty of other ways that you can cook those beloved beans, like adding them to a salad.
Pretzels are a healthy snack, right? In reality, pretzels are just as unhealthy as the nearest potato chip. They contain a lot of the same ingredients, just made into something new. But, if you just have to satisfy that pretzel craving this summer, then you should look into buying pretzels that are made with whole-wheat flower. Or, even just switch to regular, unsalted popcorn!
- Store Bought Trail Mix
Trail mix can be healthy. But, store bought versions of trail mix add in a lot of extra ingredients. Extra salt and yogurt-covered raisins are just two examples of this. Instead of paying extra money for these unhealthy trail mixes, make your own out of ingredients that you know are healthy and have no add-ons.
- Packaged Turkey
Don’t worry; you can still buy packaged turkey (if you must). But, you might want to look at the nutrition label before you buy it. Some brands of packaged turkey load their products with other things to give it that unique taste. The biggest ingredient that they add? Sodium, and a lot more of it than you should be consuming with your turkey. For a lot of people, the consumption of too much sodium can lead to serious health problems. So, shop around, look at labels and consider more fresh ways to buy your turkey.
- Multi-Grained Breads
Whole grain bread is really good for you. But, unless you take a close look at the ingredients on the nutrition label, there’s a chance that you might not be getting what you’re paying for. Instead of a healthy bread alternative, you get refined grains that have more chemicals in them than raw grains.
- Canned Soups
Okay, so maybe soup isn’t your go-to food for the summer. But, you probably use it in a lot of recipes. As hard as it is to make soups from scratch, it might be worth it. According to Shape.com, even the healthy versions of these canned foods have way too much sodium per cup.
- Diet Soda
Now, diet soda is a completely viable option for anyone who has diabetes or a health problem that requires drinking diet soda. But, if you can avoid drinking it, you should. Most diet sodas are filled with artificial everything, from flavorings to ingredients, and high amounts of sodium to boot.
- Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
If you have a lot of do-it-yourself recipes, odds are that at least a few of them have peanut butter in them. Reduced fat peanut butter might seem like a good idea at first. But, the fat in nuts is really healthy for you. Not only that, but a lot of reduced fat peanut butter brands add extra sugar to make up for it!
- Protein and Energy Bars
Candy bars are so last year. Who needs all of that sugar? Certainly not the kids! Energy bars and protein bars are obviously the better choices here. Well, as it turns out, if you read the nutrition label, that’s not the truth. These supposedly healthy bars are packed with calories and, with some brands, even more sugar than is found in your typical candy bar.