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If you’re like thousands of others, you’ve made a resolution that this year you’re going to lose weight, exercise more, or in some other way get healthier.

Making and keeping resolutions can be tricky. In this post I’m going to address some popular food items that will only get between you and your goals, despite the “health halo” that several of them wear. If you know you need to make some changes in your eating habits, read on!

5 foods you should skip this year (and every year for that matter!):

1. Bread: Despite the fact that it’s been inGRAINed in our heads that it’s healthy, bread (even if it’s whole grain), can bring you further from your health goals than you may realize. Skip bread this year if you’re trying to be healthier because it contains toxins, lectins and phytates, which prevent you from absorbing any of the nutrients the bread contains. Most breads are also packed with junk like corn syrup and trans fats, which send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing and will also induce inflammation in your body.

2. Flavored yogurts: Yogurt is widely accepted as a popular health food, and we’re regularly encouraged to incorporate it as a perfect snack or as part of a “complete breakfast.” I’m almost on board with these notions, but with some clarifications. The problem occurs when flavored and/or reduced-fat yogurt finds its way onto your spoon. Did you know that one container of flavored yogurt can have more sugar than a candy bar?! When you remove the fat from a naturally (healthy) fatty food, you have to make up for the taste by adding something, and more often than not, that something is sugar (or worse: artificial sweeteners). And to make flavors like “Apple Fritter” and “Pineapple Upside Down Cake,” you’re going to need to add a LOT of that something. So what kind of yogurt would qualify as a good addition to a balanced breakfast (or serve as a healthy snack)? I recommend organic, plain (and this means no additional flavors, including vanilla!), full-fat yogurt. Adding berries makes for a great natural sweetener or mix in my favorite Fruits & Greens Redefined, which not only adds flavor but a surplus of nutrients, too! Or you could blend your yogurt with some fruit for a delicious smoothie! For more on yogurt, check out my post “Getting Cultured on Yogurt.”

3. Granola Bars: On the same sugar note as the last one, you’re going to want to skip granola bars this year. Granola bars are simply (non-nutritional) grains and sugar. They are all too often advertised as a healthy choice, but just take a peek at the label and you’ll see that they are loaded with sugar. If you have a hankering for a type of bar, we tend to like LARABARs or KIND bars which rely more heavily on nuts as a base ingredient rather than grains. Skip the granola bars and you’ll not only notice that you don’t feel a CRASH an hour or two later (also known as low blood sugar levels, or more commonly, HANGER), but you’ll also feel more energized, focused, and have an easier time reaching your health and weight goals.

4. Margarine: If you’re still on the margarine wagon, no better time than now to get off! Margarine has been widely accepted as a healthy alternative to butter, but I’m here to dispel that myth and affirm that butter (and coconut oil, another healthy saturated fat) is a good, delicious, nutritious fat! You might still be a little hung up on the idea of fat being good for you, and we totally get that. Just know that fat is essential for every cell to function in our body. Fat plays a central role in the functioning of our nervous system, brain function, skin integrity, mineral absorption and has healing and immunity properties, not to mention it supports metabolism! Margarine deprives your body of the opportunity to take in healthy fats, and more often than not you’ll actually be consuming trans fats in that margarine which, under no circumstance, is good for your body!

5. Soda: Probably the most obvious of the five, but I couldn’t not mention soda (or as we like to say in Minnesota, pop!). You see, it might be obvious that soda should be skipped, but so many people are still drinking it regularly! Soda is detrimental to our short and long term health. It increases the risk of disease and whether you’re drinking regular or diet, neither will be doing your waistline a favor. We know that sugar is a no-no for healthier living, but not as widely understood is that sugar substitutes are just as bad (if not worse!). So once again, I’d encourage you to eliminate soda and reach for water instead – sparkling water if you “need” the carbonation, and coffee or tea with coconut oil, heavy cream, or butter if you “need” the caffeine. 🙂

Start your year off right by eliminating these five foods and you’ll notice how much better you feel and how much easier it is to reach your goals!

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