We all want to do the right thing for our well-being and health, but sometimes with so much information available out there; it’s hard to know what to do! Even as an RD I get confused sometimes! But, here are some of the comon mistakes that I see my clients make with their nutrition and why you should try to avoid them:
Seeing food as either “healthy” or “unhealthy”. Many clients seem to want a list of “healthy” and “unhealthy foods”. Unfortunately, I have to tell you most foods don’t fall 100% into either category. Instead look at food in 3 main categories: choose often, choose occasionally, and choose least often. Foods to choose often include all fruits and vegetables, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed meat. Those that should be eaten occasionally include whole grains, fats and oils, and dairy. Although these foods are healthy, they not as nutrient rich as the foods in the “choose often” list. Those choose least often include all processed and packaged foods. Notice that there is no “never” list. At the end of the day, what would life be without an occasional chocolate cake?
Making it too difficult. A lot of people believe that healthy food is complicated to prepare, expensive, or time-consuming and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The key having a healthy diet is making it easy enough for you to stick with. Keep recipes simple with easy to find ingredients. Make sure to consider your preferences, allergies, and intolerances. If you hate a food, don’t force yourself to eat it! Check out myFacebook page for what I am eating on a regular basis, I promise you, it is NEVER complicated!
Not considering portions. Unfortunately, there are no “free” foods. All calories count. Extra calories are extra calories even if they come from a carrot or lettuce. Make sure you always check the serving size of foods in addition to the number of calories. A great way to limit portions is to use a smaller plate at meals or share with a friend when going out to eat.
Relying on processed and packaged foods. Processed foods may have their place in your diet, but shouldn’t make up the majority of what you eat. Even packaged foods marketed as “healthy” choices may be better than the original version, but do not substitute fresh, homemade food. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where the vegetables, fruits, and lean meats are found and saved the packaged stuff for busy days or occasional treats.
Thinking vitamins or supplements can substitute a good diet. I will always stand by the principle that vitamins cannot ever substitute real food. A balanced diet will always be the foundation of your health. Can supplements and vitamins help in specific areas? Absolutely, but you will never be able to take enough pills to balance out a diet without adequate nutrients.