You’re trying to make healthy choices when you shop and prepare meals, so why are you still fighting the battle of the bulge? Perhaps you need to review your nutritional plan and learn to make wiser choices at the grocery store. Take time to read labels and check for things like sodium content as well as fat and calories. Below are 10 foods to avoid when you shop and eat (Photo by Lain De Macias).

Remember when rice cakes were considered healthy snack choices? Wrong. Rice cakes contain considerable amounts of carbs that can stimulate unwanted fat storage and slow your body’s ability to lose fat. In addition, the flavored variety contain loads of salt.

Apples, pears and citrus are good sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Fruit juice on the other hand, is calorie-dense because it’s high in sugar. One cup can contain anywhere from 110 – 250 calories most of which are refined sugar. Juices also lack the great fiber contained in fresh fruit. Avoid dried fruits which contain higher concentrations of sugar than fresh fruit.

Plain oatmeal is a great low-glycemic index carbohydrate food which is also superb for lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). Flavored instant oatmeal packets are often loaded with sugar and synthetic flavors and contain little of the nutritional value of steel cut pure oatmeal.

Muffins are a popular breakfast food, but as far as their nutritional value, you may as well eat cake. An English muffin or a couple of slices of whole grain bread are wiser selections.

A green salad sounds like a great idea for a healthy lunch. But once you cover it in chunky, creamy, high fat dressing, you’re better off having a burger. Go for low fat, or fat free dressings or better yet, try oil and vinegar on your salad. Deep six the added goodies that crank up calories and fat.

Chicken and fish are excellent protein sources. Breaded chicken and fish in restaurants and in most fast-food joints are usually fried and may provide you with ample protein, but they also contain high amounts of unhealthy fat.

Luncheon meats can be tempting on a salad or in a sub, but many are high in fat, sodium and even sugar. If deli meats are your only option, make sure you chose fresh, low-fat items like lean turkey and chicken. Avoid processed meats like bologna, salami and ham.

Yogurt is a better selection for your sweet tooth cravings than ice cream. What many people don’t realize is that while frozen yogurt may contain less fat than ice cream, it can still be high in carbs and calories.

A couple of regular sodas throughout the day may quench your thirst and give you a lift, but a 16oz. can of regular cola can contain over 200 calories. Diet sodas contain questionable sugar substitutes and can disrupt insulin levels.

A cocktail is a great relaxing way to end the day. Even a couple of drinks can interfere with the body’s metabolism of nutrients, especially protein. Drinking depletes your system of vitamins, especially B vitamins and causes you to retain water. That’s why you feel tired and achy after a night of partying and drinking.