Foods to Avoid if You're Dieting

If you’re dieting, or simply looking to not gain excess weight by being mindful of what you’re eating, then you’re probably thinking about the foods you should try to avoid so that you can reach your scale goals. Here’s a quick list of the foods we would recommend you steer away from, not because they are inherently bad for you, but because these foods are often easily overeaten, or high in calories without much nutritional benefit.

  • Chips (potato, corn, etc.)

  • French Fries & Tater Tots

  • Full Sugar Sodas

  • Fruit Juices & Smoothies (commercially-prepared)

  • Jams, Jellies, and Syrups

  • Lattes, Frappuccinos, Flavored Coffee & Tea Drinks, etc.

  • Alcohol, exceeding more than one drink (glass of wine, beer, etc.) per day

  • Ice Cream & Milkshakes**

  • Candy, Cookies, Pastries, Cake**

  • Flavored Cereals, Granola Bars, & Flavored Instant Oatmeal

  • Trail Mix & Mixed Nuts, Dried Fruits & Fruit Leathers

  • Flavored Yogurts

  • Cesar, Ranch, Thousand Island, Bleu Cheese Dressings

**Candy, Cookies, Pastries, Cakes, and other sweet treats are great in moderation for special occasions, but if you’re dieting we recommend not eating them regularly.

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You may see items on our list, and think we’re crazy to put them on the ‘To Avoid’ List because you’ve often thought of these foods as ‘healthy’.

For example, when we look at flavored yogurts, they are relatively low in protein but high in carbohydrates and added sugars. Jumping right into plain yogurt is tough, we know! Try mixing ½ serving or full serving of plain yogurt with ⅓ or ½ of a flavored yogurt, along with a handful of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries - you’ll be a convert before too long!

Limiting excessive carbohydrate intake by reducing your liquid calories is a simple (but often not easy) first step to making mindful nutrition choices - juices and commercially-prepared smoothies, flavored coffee and tea drinks, full sugar sodas, and excess alcohol consumption (especially alcoholic drinks made with sugar-laden mixers). The calories consumed with sugary drinks won’t help you feel satiated and could be better used eating more nutrient dense foods. 

Trail Mixes & Dried Fruits are another culprit of high carbohydrates, added sugars, and when it comes to mixed nuts, a handful can quickly add up to a high fat snack. Measuring out the exact serving size of your trail mix is the best way to go if you’d still like to enjoy this snack every now and again. Or creating your own trail mix so you know exactly what is going into the mixture so that the calories make it worth snacking on - dehydrate your own fresh fruits, choose almonds, cashews, and pistachios that are raw or dry roasted to avoid added oils and fats, and nix the chocolate candies. 

Dieting and making healthy food choices is difficult, but by choosing to eat foods that help fuel you properly will actually allow you to get more out of the hard work you’re putting in at the gym. Set yourself up for success, reduce choosing foods which won’t help you achieve your scale goals and you’ll start to see that sticking to your daily calorie budget will get easier.