Six myths about eating healthy, Part 2
In Part 1, Courtney Driscoll, clinical nutritionist for Cape Cod and Falmouth hospitals, explained why eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive and how to work more fruits and vegetables into your meals.
Next, she takes on two more myths many of us can relate to: time and sweets.
Myth 3: I don’t have time to eat better
Sure you do, Driscoll says. The average adult American watches more than 20 hours of television a week. No doubt you could trade an hour of reruns or game shows for an hour in the kitchen preparing lasagna layered with vegetables or a from-scratch meal of chicken breast, potato or rice, and a salad.
There is nothing wrong, she adds, with using bottled spaghetti sauce and other time-saving convenience foods to prepare your “from-scratch” meals. Just remember that the more you rely on processed/convenience foods, the harder it is to control the fat and sodium content of the foods you prepare.
But relying on already-prepared supermarket products does not undermine your intentions to prepare nutritious meals. That is especially true in light of the many low-fat, reduced-sodium products available to consumers today.
“Many grocery stores offer fruits and vegetables already chopped up,” Driscoll says. “Save time by purchasing these and avoiding the time at home cleaning and chopping.
“When foods like fruits and vegetables are ready to go, you are more likely to actually use them. ”
Utilizing a crockpot or slow cooker can also help in the healthy meal preparation. “Throw everything in that morning and when you get home from work you have a healthy, home cooked meal that you didn’t have to spend house slaving in the kitchen to prepare,” Driscoll says .
Here are a few healthy recipes you can make in the crockpot:
“Another way to save time is to make extra for dinner that you can take for lunch the next day,” Driscoll recommends. “As you are cleaning up from dinner, pack up the leftovers to bring to work the next day.
“You can even prepare your breakfast for the next day at the same time. Throw all your smoothie ingredients into the blender and then into the fridge or freezer, so it’s ready to go the next morning.”
Myth 4: My sweet tooth prevents me from having better eating habits
Eating well does not mean denying your sweet tooth. It just means taming it. Accept that sugar—high in calories and low in nutrients—is going to be a part of your life. Just eat less of it but enjoy it more.
This concept is mental first and behavioral second.
Denying ourselves anything – especially something we love – only makes us want it more, Driscoll says. First, come to terms with the idea of decreasing the amount or frequency of these sweets and then put that thought into action.
It can also be very helpful to stop and think about why you are reaching for these sweet, sugary foods. Sweets are often a “comfort food” in reaction to certain emotions – boredom, sadness, stress or anxiety, even happiness.
Try doing something else first before having the sweets. Call a friend, go for a walk, read a book. Being mindful of what and how much we eat is important for all foods, not just sweets.
Do not just haphazardly eat ice cream right out of the container, or indiscriminately cut slices of your favorite coffee cake at the kitchen counter. Instead, deliberately serve up a scoop in a bowl or a slice on a plate, sit down, and savor every single bite.
Mindless eating piles in a lot of calories and you might not even be enjoying it. But mindful, deliberate bites with focus on taste can be very satisfying and much less fattening.
When you are done, walk away knowing that you can have more tomorrow or the next day. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
Try picking a specific day or two for your favorite sweet item. That way you have something to look forward to throughout the week. Or make a deal with yourself that you will only have a sweet item if you’ve exercised that day.
Not keeping sweets in the house can also help. Instead, make it a special occasion and go out once in a while for an ice cream or to your favorite local bakery. You can also try making healthier versions of your favorite sweets.
Here are a few recipes to try:
Contributing: EBSCO Information Services
Courtney is a registered dietitian who was born right here at Cape Cod Hospital and was raised here on Cape Cod. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut and her Masters in Healthcare Management from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Courtney has been the Clinical Nutrition Manager for Cape Cod Healthcare for the past four years. Prior to that she was the Clinical Dietitian for Falmouth Hospital. Courtney currently lives in South Yarmouth with her husband and son.