For all you dieters out there, I’ve got some cooking mistakes to avoid that you’ll want to take note of so you don’t derail your success in the kitchen. Many people go to the supermarket, pick up foods they know or think are healthy, come home, and get excited to prepare them. Yet, they don’t understand why they aren’t losing weight. The issue might not be that you’re buying the wrong foods, just making a few cooking mistakes that mean you hold onto excess weight. Certain ways nutrients in foods combine in the body, along with too much of a certain food or ingredient, can all lead to excess weight, so I;ve rounded up the top worst cooking mistakes to avoid. Remember these tips when shopping for food and it might make things a little more easier at the store too.
1. Starch and Fat Combo
Our body needs both healthy starches and healthy fats, but one of the worst cooking mistakes to avoid is to combine them in one meal. Combining a heavy starch like a sweet potato with a dense source of fat like olive oil can wreak havoc with weight loss goals. Both of these foods aren’t unhealthy foods, but when combined, they do not enhance weight loss. Instead, if eaten on a regular basis, they can create weight gain. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat sweet potatoes or other healthy starches with fats, but you need to moderate how much fat you eat with starches overall. It’s best not to use more than 2 tsp. of fat with a starchy food like sweet potatoes, winter squash, grains, legumes, or beans. Your body prefers to digest carbs first, so it will, and the fats you eat will get stored immediately, instead of burned as energy. If you want a heavier meal with more fat, which can enhance weight loss to a degree, just keep your starches low or eliminate them and eat non-starchy veggies and protein instead.
2. Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils like corn (canola) or soy-based oils are cheap, but come with a much bigger price. These oils are highly acidic and rancid, and will cause excess weight when eaten, especially when cooked with at higher temperatures. Don’t use vegetable oils to cook with. They are not good for you, no matter what marketing you might see on a product. Use weight-loss friendly olive or coconut oil instead.
3. Too Few Calories
If you’re terrified of calories from carbs and fat, you’re likely not doing yourself any favors in the weight loss department. In fact, eating too few calories can make your body hold onto excess weight as well. Your body needs calories for fuel and energy. It just needs them from the right foods. Eating protein, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats are the best way to lose weight long-term. Starches from root vegetables (except white potatoes which are high glycemic) and gluten-free grains are fine to eat, but avoid bread and processed starchy foods. Just be sure to eat starches with protein, green vegetables, low sugar fruits like berries, and keep fat to 2 teaspoons for weight loss purposes.
4. Processed Ingredients
Processed ingredients are another reason you might not be losing weight like you want. If you’re cooking with diet mixes, powders, or boxed food, most likely you’re not going to lose weight and keep it off. Processed foods, even low calorie foods, are devoid of true nutrients, no matter if the product markets that they have added nutrients in them. Avoid all processed foods and stick to whole foods - period - to lose weight. It’s not only the best thing for your body, but also for your weight loss.
5. Excess Sodium
Adding too much salt, even healthy salt, can also make your body hold onto weight. It’s mostly water weight, but can impact your weight by as much as 10 pounds. Using a little HImalayan sea salt in cooking is fine, but avoid canned foods that have added sodium, adding salt to all your meals, and using too many high sodium condiments like soy sauce, tamari, mustard, ketchup, dressing, salsa, etc. One of these is fine of course per meal, but be mindful, and try to keep the sodium under 500 mg. per meal at the max.
6. Too Many Grains
Having lots of healthy grains in your diet might seem like the right thing to do, but it’s not helping your weight loss any. In fact, consuming a large or even moderate amount of grains can hinder weight loss for many people. Some people simply store excess carbohydrates, especially from grains, as excess weight. While they work for some people, it is still a good idea to minimize how much you eat at meals. Keep servings to ¼-½ cup per serving at max. Try to have grains earlier in the day so you burn them off more easily, and always have them with a source of lean protein to stabilize your blood sugar.
7. Going Fat-free
Are you afraid of fat? If so, you’re making a huge mistake when cooking. Stop fearing fat! Just eat the right kinds, and you might even drop more weight than you ever thought possible. Fat is actually a huge metabolism booster. So long as you don’t eat it with a large number of carbohydrates, and eat it from the right source, it’s your best friend in the world of dieting. Fat satiates you, stimulates the metabolism, assists with hormone production that aids in weight loss, and it’s great for your brain. Consume healthy fats from raw nuts and seeds, raw extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, and cold flax oil. These fats can detoxify your body as well, but should be eaten in raw form. The only exception is coconut oil, which can be heated up to 375 degrees max. Consuming healthy fats at high heat changes their makeup and will cause them to become rancid, which is not good for weight loss.
If you’re making any of these cooking mistakes, hopefully you know what to do now to correct the issue and get your weight loss back on track again. Do you have a cooking mistake to share that could cause weight gain?