Who likes food? All of us!
Who likes shopping? All of us!
Who likes food shopping? Hands? Anyone? Hello . . .?
The answer is, almost nobody likes food shopping. Going to the supermarket is a drab, draining drudgery, as even shopaholic gourmands will confess. A trip to the grocery store means spending an hour or so parsing specious nutritional claims and confusing price schemes and annoying, cloying packaging tricks, all while paying more money than you ever imagined, and doing it all under florescent lighting that could make Brooklyn Decker look like the Crypt Keeper.
Worse, thanks to tricky packaging, that supermarket is loaded with food that’s going to cause more weight gain than you bargained for. And it doesn’t matter how thorough your command of the English language is; Eminem couldn’t pronounce half of what’s on an ingredients list, and only Don Draper could make sense of marketing gobbledygook like “Part of a Well-Balanced Diet” and “Loaded with 9 Essential Nutrients.” What you need is a cheat sheet that will lead you away from the worst offenders, and toward the shelves of nutritional safety. Fortunately, I’ve got one.
Through years of groundbreaking Eat This, Not That! research, we’ve managed to conquer the labrynth, and to show you what I mean, we’ve pulled together the worst of what the supermarket has to offer. If you want to survive the aisles, you’d be wise to avoid these diet-destroying pitfalls.
1. Worst YogurtStonyfield Whole Milk Chocolate Underground (1 container)220 calories5 g fat (3 g saturated)36 g sugars
Stonyfield is notorious for being generous with the sugar, but the 9 spoonfuls in its Chocolate Underground is bad even by the most indulgent dessert standards. Not even Ben & Jerry’s most decadent scoop has this much sugar.
Eat This Instead!Stonyfield Plain 0% Fat Yogurt80 calories0 g fat (0 g saturated)11 g sugars
2. Worst CondimentEggo Original Syrup (1/4 cup)240 calories0 g fat40 g sugars
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but not when it comes topped with this much sugar. Thanks to the combined impact of three liquid sweeteners, one serving of Eggo’s pancake syrup has as much sugar as two packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, according to Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide. That’s no way to start the day.
Eat This Instead!Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Syrup (1/4 cup)25 calories0 g fat0 g sugars
Special Report: If you’re serious about losing weight, you need to cut down on sugar first. Problem is, many of us eat too much of the white stuff for breakfast. You stay full longer when you swap out sugar for fiber, and we’ll show you how to do it with ease right here: The 24 Best and Worst Cereals.
3. Worst Pick-Me-UpVault Red Blitz (20-oz bottle)290 calories 78 g sugars
Here’s a staggering stat: If you’re used to drinking black coffee every morning, and you switch to this bottle of Vault, you’ll pack on more than 5 pounds of body fat in the first two months on your normal diet. What’s more, it’s unlikely that you’ll earn any extra buzz. This bottle has 115 milligrams of caffeine. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has as much as 200 milligrams. Stick with coffee or pick a leaner energy drink.Drink This Instead!Rockstar Recovery (16 fl oz) 20 calories2 g sugarsSpecial Report: Watch out for liquid calories! They add up frighteningly fast, and here’s the proof: The 20 Worst Drinks in America.
4. Worst Ice CreamHaagen-Daz Chocolate Peanut Butter (1/2 cup)360 calories24 g fat (11 g saturated)24 g sugars
Premium ice creams are notorious for heavy loads of fat and sugar, but Haagen-Dazs’ Chocolate Peanut Butter is just egregious. Eat two scoops and you’ve just consumed more calories than a McDonald’s McDouble with small fries and more saturated fat than you should consume in an entire day. Drop the peanut butter and opt for Dark Chocolate instead. You’ll take in fewer than half the calories and a third less sugar.Eat This Instead!Haagen-Daz Dark Chocolate (1/2 cup)160 calories17 g fat (10 g saturated)16 g sugars
DID YOU KNOW? Grocery cart handles are dirtier than bathrooms, and half of them carry E. coli, says a new U of Arizona study. Discover more shocking health, nutrition and weight loss secrets like this by (where I’m giving a FREE iPad2 to a lucky follower) or by signing up for our FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter.
5. Worst Frozen “Healthy” Entrée Healthy Choice Complete Meals Sweet & Sour Chicken (1 serving)420 calories9 g fat (2 g saturated)480 mg sodium25 g sugars Since when has fried chicken been healthy? Certainly not when it’s cloaked in syrup. This meal has as more sugar than a Reese’s-flavored Klondike bar, which makes it more like dessert than dinner. If you’re too busy to cook your own chicken, at least make it nutritious; the Roasted Chicken below has less than half the sugar and 40 percent fewer calories.Eat This Instead!Healthy Choice Complete Meals Oven Roasted Chicken (1 serving)250 calories5 g fat (1 g saturated)540 mg sodium10 g sugars6. Worst Packaged SidePasta Roni Fettuccine Alfredo (1 cup prepared)450 calories24 g fat (7 g fat, 3.5 g trans)1,050 mg sodium44 g carbohydrates
Once again, Alfredo proves itself to be the biggest belt-busting option on the shelf. And, in this case, it comes with a ruinous load of trans fat and as much sodium as three orders of McDonald’s french fries. This side dish has a meal’s worth of calories, and if you try to turn it into a meal in itself, expect to top 1,000 calories. Eat This Instead!Pasta Roni Tomato Parmesan (1 cup prepared)270 calories9 g fat (3 g saturated, 1 g trans)840 mg sodium40 g carbohydrates
7. Worst “Kids” EntréeKid Cuisine All American Fried Chicken (1 package)540 calories24 g fat (6 g saturated)750 mg sodiumFor kids approaching the pre-teen growth spurt, this might not be such a bad meal. But for smaller children, 540 calories quite the heavy load. Healthy lifestyles begin young, so use this as an opportunity to explain the importance of smart choices, like choosing the Dip & Dunk Ravioli instead. It has 220 fewer calories and half the saturated fat; plus, your little ones will have more fun with dippable pasta. (For hundreds more health and nutrition tips, check out Eat This, Not That! For Kids)Eat This Instead!Kid Cuisine Dip & Dunk Toasted Ravioli (1 package)320 calories7 g fat (3 g saturated)290 mg sodium
8. Worst Stir-FryBertolli Chicken Alfredo & Penne (1/2 bag)630 calories32 g fat (17 g saturated)1,200 mg sodiumDinner should get your blood flowing, but this chicken has as much saturated fat as 17 strips of bacon! Switching to Chicken Marsala will save you 240 calories per serving. Make a swap like that every day and you’ll drop 25 pounds this year.Eat This Instead!Bertolli Chicken Marsala & Roasted Red Potatoes (1/2 bag)390 calories13 g fat (5 g saturated)920 mg sodium
Special Report: You don’t always have time to cook your own dinner, and that’s when you succumb to the convenience of the drive-thru. The good news is you can eat fast food while still losing weight. The bad news is, you won’t lose a pound if you’re eating any of these: The 10 Worst Fast-Food Meals.
9. Worst Frozen PizzaDiGiorno Traditional Crust Supreme Pizza (1 pizza)790 calories36 g fat (14 g saturated)1,460 mg sodium This is DiGiorno’s lunch-sized pizza, and it has more calories than Taco Bell’s Half Pound Cheesy Potato Burrito with Cinnamon Twists on the side. A calorie load like this will probably make you feel drowsy the second half of the day. Better to downsize your meal and preserve your energy—not to mention your waistline.
Eat This Instead!DiGiorno Flatbread Melts Chicken Parmesan (1 package)380 calories14 g fat (7 g saturated)750 mg sodium10. Worst Packaged FoodMarie Callender’s Creamy Parmesan Chicken Pot Pie (1 package) 1,020 calories 58 g fat (24 g saturated) 1,660 mg sodium
Marie Callender’s commits the ultimate sleight of hand here: The nutrition information says this medium-size entrée has two servings, but let’s get real—nobody wants to split a potpie. The problem here is twofold: a pie crust that’s shot through with lard, and a filling that’s swimming in cream. That makes for one fatty dish. Go with the Herb Roasted chicken and cut your your sodium by 44 percent, calories by 55 percent, and your saturated fat by 75 percent!
Eat This Instead! Marie Callender’s Herb Roasted Chicken (1 package) 460 calories 21 g fat (6 g saturated) 940 mg sodium
Bonus Tip: Food manufacturers think you’re stupid. In fact, they’re counting on it. But we’ve cracked the packaged food labeling code. Check out 18 Supermarket Lies Revealed and never be fooled by misleading labels again. And for hundreds of smart swaps and recipes to save 10, 20, 30 pounds or more, check out the new Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet guide.
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