When we encounter someone that glows with obvious healthiness, it's common to draw the assumption he or she's an impossibly healthy eater. The truth is that even the healthiest of people make honest mistakes when it comes to eating clean, and 9 times out of 10 it’s not because of a lack of effort, but more likely because of a lack of information. The following is a list of common food mistakes that even healthy people make.
1. Buying Produce
When buying our groceries, many of us go weekly to save time and to avoid multiple trips to the market during the work week. Sure this makes sense in theory; but when it comes to buying produce this is a major nutritional mistake. Fruits and vegetables start to lose their nutritional values soon as they are picked. If you're buying and keeping your fruits and veggies a week before eating them, most of the essential vitamins and minerals have been lost to the passing of time. So, from a healthy eating perspective, multiple trips to the market each week at least for produce is the best way to go.
2. Eating Out
When we cook at home, we know what goes into our food. We can control the quality and nutritional content of our diets this way. But when we eat out we risk ordering foods made with less quality ingredients and often greater amounts of pre-packaged and processed ingredients because it costs the restaurants less prep money. Restaurants that serve all organic and whole food meals are often more expensive due to the establishment buying their ingredients without preservatives, chemicals or canned ingredients.
3. Portion Sizes
This is another hazard of eating out too often. Restaurants typically serve portions that are way bigger than they need to be. This leads to eating far more than we mean to simply because it’s in front of us, which contributes to the high rate of obesity in this country. Even healthy people have a hard time discerning the proper amount to eat when the plates and portions in restaurants are so grossly oversized.
4. Convenience Foods
Some foods that would be healthy if fresh are quick to lose quality when bought in convenience packages. Take pre-packaged carrot sticks as an example: with a side of light ranch dressing it seems healthy – until you read the label. Keeping things like carrot sticks and ranch dressing fresh in a plastic package requires chemical treatment and harsh loads of preservatives, all of which are very harmful to our bodies. It's alarming this is allowed for the sake of convenience. It’s a better idea to get into a routine; for instance, go buy fresh carrots, make a simple light dressing at home, and bring that all with you in a Tupperware container.
5. Fat Free Foods
Since we’ve all been conditioned to believe that fat is the enemy, many of us buy foods that are fat-free. This can actually work against us, as there are some fats that are good for us such as olive oil, canola oil and avocado. These types of fats contain Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for a healthy and well-balanced diet. Our brains function best when we eat a diet with plenty of Omega 3’s.
6. Vitamin Supplements
It sounds like a good idea to take lots of extra vitamins; but this is another common misheld belief among healthy people. Our bodies can only absorb so much when it comes to vitamins. When we take more vitamins than we need, our bodies eliminate the excess, which results in very expensive urine. Watch what you eat and only take vitamins that you don't receive naturally from the foods you eat.
7. Peeling Fruits and Veggies
Much of the nutritional value in fresh fruits and vegetables exists in the peels of these foods. If we remove the skins of apples, for example, we are tossing all the antioxidant properties of apples down the garbage disposal; the same holds true for carrots and potatoes. The peels not only contain vitamins and valuable phytochemicals, they also contain all the fiber of that particular food, and fiber is one thing we do not want to short ourselves on.
Juicing can be very healthy when done properly. As a juicer processes fruits and veggies, the seeds and peels (fiber and other nutrients) are left behind. Also when people juice, they are not consuming much protein. When we juice, we must supplement fiber and protein so that our bodies stay balanced and well-nourished. This is easy to do with powdered protein and fiber – just add a scoop of each to your juice and you’ll be good to go.
Even impressively healthy people fall prey to making food mistakes. The resolution is to become a better educated consumer. Pay attention to ingredients, labels, and portion sizes. Know how much of and which nutrients your body needs, and make your food choices accordingly.