Foods to Avoid and Foods to Include in Meal Planning

Food is an essential part of our daily lives and provides us with the necessary nutrients to maintain good health. However, not all foods are created equal, and some can have negative effects on our health if consumed in excess. By understanding which foods to avoid or limit, you can make informed choices about what you eat and take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

Avoid, Limit, or Include

greek egg muffins

Several of the foods below fit into more than one category. This is not a complete list of foods to eat and foods to avoid, but is meant to be an example and a good starting point.

NOTE: It is recommend that you check with your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your regular eating plan.

If you follow a healthy eating plan, it is okay to have 1 or 2 meals a week with your favorite foods while still maintaining smaller portions. This helps to stay on track with your healthy eating plan the remainder of the week. So go ahead and cheat once or twice, just make sure you remain faithful to your meal plan for all other meals during the week.

Here are examples of cheat meals:

  • 1 hamburger, fries and a milk shake
  • 1 serving Lasagna, garlic bread, salad, small dessert
  • 2 slices of pizza with a side salad, small dessert

Keep in mind having 1 or 2 cheat meals is NOT required. If you choose not to cheat, all the better. Remember, these are not cheat days, just  1 or 2 cheat meals each week.

Foods to Avoid or Limit

  • Deep Fried foods
  • Heavily Breaded foods
  • Pastries
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Foods that have ingredients you can’t pronounce…read ingredient labels
  • All sodas, diet included
  • Refined sugar and foods that contain it
  • White flour and foods that contain it
  • All artificial sweeteners, Splenda, Equal, etc.
  • Alcohol, save for special occasions
  • Boxed, processed foods

Foods to Include

Complex Carbohydrates: 

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice)
  • Fresh or frozen veggies
  • Fresh fruit or frozen berries
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole Wheat bread, eat sparingly
  • Legumes (dry beans)
  • Whole wheat flour
  • White whole wheat flour
  • Whole wheat pastry flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Prunes

Healthy Fats

  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Avocado
  • Butter
  • Nuts: walnuts, almonds, etc. (w/o added salts or oils)


  • Lean meat like poultry, pork, and beef
  • Fish like salmon, grouper, tilapia, and more
  • Seafood like shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, and more
  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Greek yogurt (flavored or unflavored)
  • Milk
  • Cheese, low fat…eat in moderation
  • Tofu
  • Protein powder


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar and other vinegars without added sugar


  • All-natural peanut butter, almond and cashew butter
  • Salsa, no sugar added
  • Dijon mustard
  • Kosher and Sea Salt, sparingly

Unrefined Sweeteners (eat in moderation, meaning as a special treat)

  • Honey
  • Sorghum
  • Molasses
  • Sucanat
  • 100% pure Maple Syrup
  • Coconut palm Sugar
  • Stevia

Click for Ten Tips on How to Avoid Overeating