If your pantry was well-stocked with some of the best food choices for health, you would probably include them in your meals and snacks, right? Pack your pantry with some of the worst food choices though, and that’s most likely what you and your family will be eating instead.
The newly released 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines describes a healthy eating pattern as one that emphasizes nutrient-rich foods and beverages such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, beans, nuts and seeds, fat-free or low-fat dairy, lean meats and poultry, and eggs.
The worst choices in the pantry are those foods containing sugars, refined grains, solid fats, and high levels of sodium.
Here's an easy way to separate the best from the bad.
10 Worst Foods In Your Pantry
1. Soda and Sweetened Beverages
Some of the worst foods in their pantry are soda and other sweetened drinks because these contribute refined carbohydrate calories without nutrients. David Leopold, MD, director of integrative medical education for the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, puts any type of soda at the top of his “worst” list. Some might be surprised that sweetened teas and energy drinks rival the sugar in soda with about 50 grams of sugar per 16-ounce bottle.
2. High Sugar, Low Fiber Breakfast Cereals
Cold cereals were among the top sources of added sugar for children between the ages of 2 and 8, according to a recent report. A cereal that lists a refined grain and sugar as the first two ingredients won’t satisfy your hunger through the morning and it won’t contribute important nutrients, which come from whole foods like whole grains, nuts, or dried fruit.
3. Snack Cakes and Cupcakes
Snack cakes have three of the four ingredients we need to eat less of: refined flour, added sugars, and saturated fat. The typical snack cake serving, such as two Hostess Ho Hos, contains 228 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, and 28 grams of sugar. Keep in mind that 9 grams of saturated fat is half the maximum daily amount of saturated fat recommended for someone eating 1,800 calories a day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
4. Movie Theater or Mega Butter Microwave Popcorn
The “Extra Butter” or “Movie Theater” microwave popcorn choices are some of the last products that still have shocking amounts of trans fat in them with a small serving of 3 tablespoons (unpopped) containing about 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of trans fat. Each serving also adds at least 300 milligrams of sodium to your day’s total.
5. Chips and Cheetos
This popular snack group category made the list because they are processed with gobs of fat and sodium and usually include a refined grain. A 2-ounce bag of chips or Cheetos usually adds more than 300 calories, 20 grams of fat, and over 450 milligrams of sodium. The worst part is we tend to eat too much of them because even a 2-ounce portion doesn’t seem to satisfy our stomach.