When a professional makeup artist tells us about his favorite skin-care products, we listen. When a professional chef tells us about the most common amateur cooking mistakes, we take notes. So when we got the opportunity to ask a nutritionist about the things she’d never keep in her pantry, we jumped at the chance. Read on for five foods Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, would never keep in her kitchen.
1. Potato Chips
Ever notice how you can’t really stop after just one handful of chips? That’s by design. According to Auslander Moreno, “Potato chips are coated with unhealthy oils to create a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation. The brain doesn't interpret the airiness as satiating, so they're essentially addictive.” On top of that, they’re also pretty much devoid of nutritional value (like fiber or protein). Instead, Auslander Moreno recommends making your own chips at home by slicing organic potatoes, coating them in avocado oil, salt and paprika and baking them.
2. Veggie Chips
No, the “veggie” part doesn’t make them healthy. “Even if they’re made with avocado oil, they tend to be outrageously expensive and either have preservatives or a casual little packet of poisonous silica slipped inside to prevent spoilage,” Auslander Moreno told us. Again, she recommends making your own. Her favorite veggies to make into chips? Kale, beets, carrots and zucchini. Yum.
3. Leftover Halloween Candy
Unless it’s, like, November 1, keeping leftovers around the house creates unnecessary temptation, Auslander Moreno tells us. “A couple pieces on Halloween is one thing, but now it's April, and it's time for some real, artisan chocolate, that actually has flavanols with health benefits. I like to buy chocolate from local vendors and support local businesses, but nationally, I like Wicked dark chocolate and Hu Kitchen."
Yes, it’s delicious, and yes, it’s beyond easy, but for Auslander Moreno, cereal is too processed and full of unhealthy oils, sugar, preservatives and cheap quality grains to keep in the house. Instead, she recommends a breakfast of cream of wheat, oats, millet, muesli or homemade granola. The only exception? “I only keep toasted oat cereal in the cupboard as emergency fare for when a stomach virus strikes, since they're easy to break down. Or I give them to my dog for a little treat.”
5. Vegetable Oil
“The fact that people still cook with this (and canola oil) is mind-boggling,” Auslander Moreno said. She tells us that vegetable oil has too much omega-6 (in relation to omega-3), which could contribute to inflammation. For salads and sauces, she recommends olive oil, and for cooking at high temperatures, she’s a fan of avocado oil, grass-fed butter and ghee.