So you’re trying to start eating healthier… There are tons of how-to articles out there and lists of foods promising to boost your metabolism, increase your energy, reduce your risk of disease, etc. etc. It’s easy to take tidbits and apply them incorrectly! Here are 5 common mistakes I see people making (and some I’ve done myself!):
- Believing Organic=Healthy. I love organic foods and absolutely prioritize eating organic whenever I can! But just because a food is organic does not mean it’s a good choice. There are lots of organic bars and cereals that are really just dessert disguised as health food. Just because organic fruit snacks don’t contain artificial ingredients or pesticides does not make them healthy. You are still eating pure sugar. That’s an obvious one, but don’t forget this rule when it comes to granola bars, chips, mac and cheese, and other packaged foods! Watch the ingredients carefully and don’t blindly grab the organic brands thinking you have the green light.
- Believing Portion-Controlled Meals = Healthy. A frozen meal with only 250 calories seems like a good bet. Especially when it’s packed with protein. But look at the ingredients. It likely contains preservatives and other ingredients that you would never buy and add to your food. Those chemical ingredients are messing with your system! Cravings, inflammation and low energy are likely to follow that meal. Instead, cook your own meals, portion them out as you wish, and freeze them. Yes, it takes some pre-planning, but you can do it!
- Ignoring the Ingredients. You look at the calories. You likely look at the fat, especially if you were around for the fat-free craze and your brain is still wired to go there. I bet you are watching carbs and sugars now, and probably protein as well. But do you stop there? I hope not! Make sure to look at the ingredients to get the full picture. If the protein is coming from GMO soy protein, it’s not a good choice. And who cares if the sugars are low if it contains artificial sweeteners that are messing with your brain chemistry? Ingredient labels are hugely important for your health.
- Overeating Healthy Fat. Guilty. As. Charged. I love almonds and just about any nut. Peanut butter, almond butter, sunbutter, tahini… all trigger foods for me. Do you need healthy fats? Absolutely!! Are nuts and nut butters full of healthy fats and proteins? Sure! But you can easily overeat them. Same goes for avocado and coconut oil. YES, include them in your diet. But you do need to watch portions. Any food in excess will become excess on your waistline.
- Overeating Fruit and Healthy Sweeteners. Along the lines of too much healthy fat is too much fruit and other sweeteners. Why? It’s still sugar. Yes, raw honey is better for you than refined white sugar, but your body is still processing the sugar. Snacking on fruit all day will add up to more sugars than is ideal for your body. Enjoy the delicious berries and seasonal fruits as they are full of essential nutrients, but eat in moderation! Make non-starchy vegetables your go-to snacks instead.
What do you think? Have you fallen into any of these traps? I know I have! If you want to jumpstart a clean-eating program the right way, take a look at my Summer Cleanse. Choose your week and get started on 7 days that will change your life!