It is very common to eat several different food groups together when we eat our meals.
Most of us are trying to make an effort to balance our diet by including protein, fruits and vegetables, and grains and other good starches. However, striking the right balance can be tricky.
There are certain foods that digest very differently and should be eaten separately.
In fact, you would never think of eating particular foods together if you knew what havoc they wreaked on your digestive system. Some of the dire consequences include gas, bloating, nausea, fatigue, stomach ache and overall digestive distress, not to mention problems with elimination.
Although the short-term effects can be alleviated after a single day, meals with the wrong food combinations over a long period can lead to more significant issues, such as poor sleep, low energy, rashes, dry skin and bad breath. With time, you could notice chronic inflammation and continued digestion problems.
Below are a few of the most common bad combinations that may have you second-guessing the foods you eat together at certain meals.
A muffin with orange juice
Do you enjoy a muffin with orange juice for breakfast? Well, this morning combo packs plenty of calories and very little nutrition. That’s because the lack of protein and fiber, as well as the excess of carbohydrates, can cause your blood sugar to increase dramatically and then suddenly drop.
This easily can leave you feeling tired before you’ve even started your day. If you really want to get going in the morning, try a whole-grain muffin for the added fiber and fewer carbohydrates. Include a cup of low-fat milk for more protein and a piece of fresh fruit – that’s even better. You still get most of the flavor and less of the bad stuff!
White bread with jam
It is likely that a couple of slices of white bread smothered in jam may not be enough to satisfy you in the morning and you could even feel a bit hungry shortly after eating this popular sugary breakfast. This could cause you to overindulge later in the day, all because you haven’t had enough protein or healthy fat, so you will notice that you eat more as the day goes on.
Try swapping your white bread for the whole-grain kind to get enough fiber, and switch jam with peanut butter to get more fat and protein. You will find you will be able to get a lot further in the day without feeling hungry.
Cereal with milk
Cereal with milk may be the go-to breakfast for many people. It’s cheap and doesn’t take long to prepare. But both contain quickly-digested carbohydrates and these can create more work for your body, leading to blood sugar spikes and energy crashes, too. To help your digestion, try including fat and protein in your breakfast. That means pouring your cereal over Greek yogurt, for example, and adding a handful of nuts.
Canned tomato soup with grilled cheese
During lunch, canned tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is hard to resist. Still, this particular food combination isn’t as wholesome as it seems. Canned tomato soups are high in sugar.
You can thank the added high fructose corn syrup for that! What’s more, grilled cheese is high in fat and carbs but offers little protein. And both cheese and tomato soup come packed with salt. If you insist on this as a meal choice, make sure you choose low-sodium tomato soup with no added sugar and cook up your grilled cheese with whole-grain bread and low-fat cheese.
Salad with low-fat or fat-free dressing
Did you know that even reduced-fat dressings are a bad idea for flavoring your salad? The reason being, the vitamins in vegetables need a little bit of fat in order to be absorbed properly. Besides, many low-fat and fat-free dressings are loaded with sugar.
Instead, try dressing your greens with extra virgin olive oil (with a little balsamic or red wine vinegar). That’ll enhance your nutrient absorption considerably.
Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Like most dinnertime favorites, meatloaf with mashed potatoes has plenty of nutritional value. But with these will also come digestive problems.
Although meatloaf is a source of protein, it is also high in fat and calories. Meanwhile, mashed potatoes only provide a few grams of fiber and tend to contain added butter and cream. This makes your meal quite high in saturated fats, and the lack of fiber can lead to constipation.
So why not try a turkey meatloaf with a side of mashed cauliflower? It has the same taste but with more fiber and less calories.
Burger with fries
Sure, a burger with fries may be one of the most convenient meals, but you already know it isn’t good for you, and it isn’t good for your digestion either. The overcooked fat and preservatives found in burgers can form a charcoal-like substance. This combines with the sugar from your fried potatoes to create cytokines. These can inflame the cells and even kill them, which can lead to intensified aging.
Here’s a much healthier alternative: A less fatty veggie burger with a pickle on the side!
One way to increase pizza’s already-elevated calories is by adding meat. And saturated fat and sodium together increase your heart disease risk.
To prevent this from happening, you can load up your pizza with nutrient-rich vegetables instead of meat. And pair it with a big, healthy garden salad.
Corn chips with salsa
Did you know that your craving for salt is likely stronger than your willpower? This really works in favor of companies who make chips.
It isn’t uncommon for someone to burn through an entire bag of before they even realize what they are doing. This results in a spike in the calories and fat consumed. So although salsa is lower in calories, it hardly satisfies your appetite.
Instead, try multigrain, low-sodium chips in order to get more fiber and curb your hankering for salt. Even better, trade in those chips for raw veggies with yogurt dip or hummus on the side! That way you will have a crunchy snack without all the salt, grease and fat.
Wine with dessert
It’s last on the list, but it is one that you might overlook because wine does play host to a few well-known health benefits. Wine with dessert is no good. That’s because wine doesn’t work as well after dinner hour.
Simply put, alcohol interferes with your blood sugar by raising the levels of your insulin. The extra sugar contained in your dessert then turns into fat. And that, of course, promotes weight gain. So instead, try drinking wine with low-glycemic foods, such as vegetables. Or try switching out your nightly glass of vino for a cup of herbal tea.
By avoiding a few of these common offenders, and trying new and healthy ways to pair up your food, your next meal may be a more happy one. You’ll likely stop feeling gassy, bloated and tired.
Once you’re on the right track, you’ll not only enjoy your food more, you’ll likely experience a few bursts of energy to help get you through the day, too.