Three Easy Steps To Eating Better

by DavalosMcCormack on December 30, 2008

We have more information than ever before about health and nutrition yet we are, as a nation, fatter than ever. So where are we going wrong? The answer to that is complex but here’s a few ideas about how we can go right.

1) Buy mostly foods that don’t have labels.

Food labels are a wonderful invention. They help you understand what’s in the product you are about to buy, how much fat or salt or other junk. But if you are spending a lot of time reading labels it means you are buying way too many processed foods in the first place.

Skip those pre-packaged items and head to the fresh food aisle. Buy fruits and vegetables – you know what is in them so you are not going to have to figure out what those chemical numbers mean or be surprised by how many different names manufacturers can come up with for sugar (sucrose, fructose, galactose, dextrose etc) or by trying to figure out what exactly red #47 is and why it’s in your cereal!

Then when you are done with fruits and veg move on to the whole grain and bean section. You can get beans out of a can but they’re usually soaked in salt water so you end up getting a lot more than you want, or expect. Cooking them doesn’t take that long and you can whip up a big batch one night and use them throughout the week for a variety of different dishes.

Simple, easy, nutritious and best of all, cheaper than buying them in the can.

2) Drinks can sink a diet

Usually when we’re thinking about eating a healthier diet we think about solid foods and forget the liquids we put in our mouth. Those can often be just as dangerous and laden with calories as any snack food.

Fancy coffee drinks, such as a white chocolate mocha with whipped cream for instance, can easily contain more than 500 calories. And that’s for a medium. Make it a large and throw in some extra sugar and you are drinking down half your caloric intake for a whole day. And that’s even before you have breakfast!

Beer and wine – and I hate to say this – are also big sources of extra calories, so if you have a glass of wine – or two or three – with dinner you can easily add on close to 300 calories. Cheers!

And don’t even get me started on all those sugary sodas, fruit punches or energy drinks. Those come packed with stuff you really don’t want to think about.

3) Be Aware

From the moment you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed you are bombarded with images and messages and ads about food. It’s on TV morning noon and night. It’s on billboard, on buses, in magazines and newspapers and online. You can’t escape it.

There’s a very good reason why. Advertising works. People buy things because they have seen an ad or promotion that makes them think “oh, that looks yummy”. Advertisers are very good at getting you to spend money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need that will pack on pounds you can’t get rid of.

So, be aware. When you see an ad or a poster or billboard for a food product think about what it’s trying to get you to do; to spend your money on their product.

When you are at work and someone brings in a big batch of home-baked cookies or cup cakes don’t feel you have to eat one or you’ll hurt their feelings. Say “thanks but I’m trying to lose weight” or “thanks but I had a huge breakfast/lunch”.

Exercising a little restraint now means you won’t have to exercise a lot afterwards to burn off those extra calories.

Don’t be on automatic, think about what you are buying, eating, drinking, consuming. Being aware is the single most important thing you can do in trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Will that guarantee success? No of course not. If it were that easy two thirds of Americans wouldn’t be overweight. But at least it will get you moving in the right direction.

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