In the food spectrum, there are two different categories of food: “good” food and “bad” food. What most people consider “good” food is typically low in fat, calories and other unnecessary ingredients while rich in vitamins and nutrients; think fresh fruits, veggies and lean meats or fish. On the other hand, “bad” foods are often perceived as those that contain high fat, sugar, calories and other ingredients that many deem unwanted. While generally it is advisable to consume more “good” foods than “bad,” you may be missing out on some significant benefits if you cut out “bad” foods entirely from your diet. Let's take a look at some commonly-perceived “bad” foods and find out ways you can healthily incorporate them into your diet.
1. Red Meat
While you're probably aware that red meat, like beef, is often laced with fat and can make you pack on the pounds, you can still enjoy its nutritional value without ruining your diet and expanding your waistline. Look for the leanest cuts of beef to ensure that you still receive a boost of protein from it, albeit in a healthier way. Lean beef also contains a high dose of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA
), which can aid with lowering your body fat percentage, according to Today Health
2. Peanut Butter
Typically known as being extremely fattening and packed with calories, peanut butter also has plenty of nutrients that can provide a boost to your health. While peanut butter does contain a good amount of fat, it is monounsaturated, or the healthy kind of fat that can contribute to lowering bad cholesterol
(LDL) and your risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association
. Peanut butter also contains folate and protein, which can contribute to healthy cells and lean muscle growth. Try spreading some peanut butter on celery or apple slices for a snack that will keep you feeling full and help regulate your appetite.
Cheese has always had a reputation for being super fatty and highly caloric, but it can provide a great deal of nutrients when consumed in moderation. Rich with bone-fortifying calcium
, cheese is also a good source of protein
, vitamin B12
, phosphorous and CLA. Berkeley Wellness recommends
trying cheese with reduced or not fat; cheese that has a bold, savory flavor can help you to feel more satisfied when eaten in small amounts, compared to cheese with a mild flavor which might prompt you to reach for more. Reduced-fat mozzarella string cheese is a good option, with most containing less than 100 calories. In addition, crumbling a tiny bit of feta cheese or parmesan over a salad or vegetable dish can help you to satisfy your cheese craving without totally compromising your healthy diet.
Those intimidating little spuds are not always terribly unhealthy, though they are often viewed as a no-no food with a high glycemic index and carbohydrate count. However, potatoes have a valuable nutritional content, with plenty of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Potatoes are packed with fiber
, protein, vitamins C
, along with potassium
and many other nutrients. Medical News Today suggests
that moderate potato consumption can contribute to a decreased risk of obesity and overall mortality, heart disease and diabetes. It may also help promote increased energy along with healthy skin and hair. Roasting or sautéing potatoes with some added herbs and spices is a great way to enjoy them; make sure you don't forget the skin, though, as it is the part of the potato with the most nutrients.
While chocolate is typically considered a guilty pleasure, consuming this bad boy in tiny amounts here and there shouldn't have you beating yourself up. All chocolate is made up of cacao or cocoa, but dark chocolate is the most nutritious type and is rich with antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids. According to several studies
, consuming small amounts of dark, unprocessed cacao may lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes
, metabolic syndrome and stroke. Since cacao is very bitter when consumed on its own, the next best thing is to look for dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cacao; this way you can be sure to reap the most nutritional benefits.
Remember that while these "bad" foods can be nutritious and beneficial, it's best to consume them only moderately and in small quantities. Sometimes being bad can be a good thing, just not all the time. If you're on a special medical diet or questioning whether any of the foods mentioned above are appropriate for you to eat with certain medical conditions, consult your doctor first. Thanks for reading, and come back tomorrow for more healthy living tips at eVitamins!