healthy eatingWe all know the formula for health, just exercise and eat well. But with the food industry’s marketing gimmicks, contradictory advice and confusing product labels, figuring out how to eat a healthy diet can be challenging. Here are 5 mistakes you might be making in your efforts to eat well and how to fix them.

* Remember to consult your doctor anytime you plan on making a major diet or exercise change. 

Low-Fat Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy

A stock photograph of an apple digitally manipulated toásuggest weight loss.
Mistake: Assuming foods labeled “low-fat” are healthy.

Though seeing “low-fat” on a package might sound like it means you’re making a healthy choice, that’s not always the case. Don’t forget that potato chips, candy and other junk food can often qualify as “low-fat,” but they more than make up for it with high amounts of sugar, sodium and simple carbs.

How to Fix it: Don’t fall for “low-fat,” be sure to read the entire label and make sure that whatever you’re eating isn’t full of calories in extra places. Too much sugar and simple carbs can ruin your diet just as quickly as fatty foods.

Sports Drinks are for Sports!

Sports Drink...Caution
Mistake: Choosing Gatorade or Vitamin-Water as a healthy alternative to soda.

Unfortunately, while sports drinks are excellent at giving you energy during a workout, that boost comes from the high amounts of sugar these drinks contain.

How to Fix it: Only drink sports drinks while working out. For regular meals try drinking water or unsweetened tea.

Lack of Veggies

Fresh Vegetables, Fruits and other foodstuffs.
Mistake: Not getting enough vegetables.

Vegetables are a staple of a healthy diet, but did you know you’re supposed to have 2.5 cups of them per day?  In fact, only 7% of people in Ohio get the recommended amount daily!

How to Fix it:  Try adding some green to every meal, or making more meals that incorporate vegetables. One of our recent Great Groceries recipes, Zucchini and Corn Pie, is a great way to add veggies to a meal without even thinking about it!

Diet Soda is not Good for Diets

Water and Soda
The Mistake: Replacing regular soda with diet versions.

While it might seem like a good idea to choose a diet soda over a regular sugar-filled kind, there’s not much evidence that these drinks actually help you lose weight.  Some studies have shown that despite their lack of sugar, diet soda’s don’t contribute to weight loss. One study actually found that people who normally drank diet soda actually increased their belly fat compared to their non diet-drinking peers!

How To Fix It: Only enjoy diet soda occasionally and don’t think of it as a healthy alternative to regular pop! Another great technique to try and wean yourself off of soda is to start drinking plain carbonated water. It will give you the satisfying fizz and mouthfeel of drinking pop, but none of the sugar and calories.

Not All Fruit is Created Equal

Green Apple In Front Of Oranges
The Mistake: Eating too much of the wrong type of fruit.

Though eating fruit is an important way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs, the type of fruit you’re eating matters. Some fruits are actually loaded with sugar, like these:

  • Figs – 27 grams of sugar per cup
  • Mangos – 23 grams of sugar per cup
  • Cherries – 18 grams of sugar per cup
  • Bananas – 14 grams of sugar per banana

How to Fix it:  Swap out some of your high-sugar fruits for some low-sugar versions. Here are three extremely low-sugar fruits to to try:

  • Raspberries – 5 grams of sugar per cup
  • Blackberries – 7 grams of sugar per cup
  • Cranberries – 4 grams sugar per cup

Restaurants are Not Your Friend

Restaurant Owner Standing in Doorway
The Mistake: Too many trips to the local restaurant or fast food joint.

The average American actually eats out about 6 times per week! We all know that food at the restaurant is going to have more calories than a home-prepared meal, but it’s a hard habit to break.

The Fix: Be strategic about eating out less. Try setting a goal number at the beginning of the week for how many times you’re going to go to a restaurant for food.  Another good technique is that when you go out to eat only eat half of what’s on your plate and save the other half for the next day’s lunch.

Which of these mistakes do you make? Be sure to leave us a comment below!