Could some of your healthy eating habits actually be working against your health? Though we may have the best of intentions when it comes to our health, sometimes our efforts aren’t as effective as we think. Consider some of the most common mistakes healthy eaters tend to make.
- You rely on marketing, rather than nutrition labels, when deciding what to eat.
Don’t assume that just because a food item is “organic,” “all-natural,” or marketed to athletes, that it’s healthy. Many items marketed as health foods contain just as much sugar, fat, salt, and total calories as foods we’d consider outright unhealthy. Let’s face it: those frozen diet entrees, granola bars, and frozen yogurt cups just aren’t as healthy as you’d hoped; but if you don’t check nutrition labels, you’ll never know. It’s also important to read a food item’s ingredients list; what you might assume to be good for you could actually contain concerning ingredients like partially-hydrogenated oil, MSG, or high fructose corn syrup.
- You forget about coffee calories.
Coffee has been shown to have health benefits, right? Right. But not when it’s consumed with added sugar and sweeteners. While a little milk won’t do much damage, if you’re a coffee drinker that loves your sugar packets, or are an avid customer of big-name coffee chains with enticing mocha lattes, your coffee is no longer a morning pick-me-up: it’s a full on dessert. Be conscious about your coffee consumption and what you put in your drinks, and remember that just one 16 fl oz. Frappuccino contains approximately 60 grams of sugar.
- You think exercise is enough.
Exercise is important, yes, but eating healthfully is just as important. Did you know that it would take 4 hours of jumping on a trampoline to burn off the calories of a large bagel with cream cheese? Or that, on average, it would take about a half hour of running to burn off the calories in a Snicker’s bar? Even the most avid of exercisers might have trouble burning off all of the calories that accumulate with a poor diet. The body also has a harder time processing nutritionally-deficient or processed foods as compared to healthy, natural foods, and exercise does not mitigate this challenge.
- You skip meals.
If you adhere to the theory that consuming fewer calories is always the healthiest choice, it’s time to change your tune. Our bodies depend on calories from nutritious foods to provide us with energy; skipping meals deprives our bodies of these important calories and causes a dip in blood sugar, which triggers a host of biological responses like a slowed metabolism and cognitive deficiency. Whether you prefer eating six small meals or sticking to three large meals a day, always respond to what your body tells you. When you’re hungry, that means it’s time for a healthy, well-portioned meal.
If we want to lead truly healthy lifestyles, we’ll need to pay closer attention to how our eating choices actually impact our health. For more tips on healthy living, be sure to stop by the blog of Lori Smith Priest on a regular basis.