At Work Challenge tip: Learning to eat healthy

You're motivated and you've got the exercise down.

Congrats, that's a big part of the battle.

But don't forget that eating the right foods is just as important by becoming a dedicated food label reader.

A lot of health food items you see online or in the store are loaded with chemicals. You might think you're getting something that is low in calories, but it may not be healthy.

For example, a lot of powdered peanut butter is marketed as containing 85 percent less fat than peanut butter. While you are losing unhealthy and healthy fats, you're also gaining a lot of extra sugar and salt and chemicals in several cases.

What about margarine vs. butter?

Seems like a no-brainer because we all know butter is bad for you. Or is it? Margarine is a highly processed food with vegetable oil, chemical colorants and other artificial ingredients.

It's not easy to sort through all this, so it helps find an expert.

Monique Costello is a certified integrative health coach and culinary nutrition expert with clients throughout the suburbs. She holds healthy food classes and writes a Happy Eats Healthy blog.

Costello's classes focus on adding natural healthy flavor to food when cooking.

But Costello understands that everything can't taste like rice cakes. "I try to follow the 80-20 rule," Costello says. "If you're good 80 percent of the time, you can cheat a little 20 percent of the time."

You can also find help online. Fooducate is an app that lets you scan bar codes and it will evaluate how healthy it is.

The site also grades various foods, like health bars, and provides daily tips (like what is the best day to weigh yourself).

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