Are You Making Healthy Food Choices?

Are You Making Healthy Food Choices?

Would you believe it… 90% of Americans claim they make healthy food choices, but our well-known love of sugary drinks and calorie-laden foods suggests otherwise.

So while many people are trying to eat right… lots of us are making big time mistakes according to a Consumer Reports Health telephone poll of just over 1,200 adults, few of whom kept track of their health – 52.6% of these said their diet was “somewhat” healthy, 31.5% reported their diets to be “very” healthy, and 5.6% claimed to be “extremely” healthy eaters.

The thing is, 43% of the respondents said they drank at least one sweetened soda or sugar sweetened hot drink a day. Only around 25% said they limited the number of sweets and fat they took in each day. Four in ten admitted to taking in less than five servings of fruits and veggies each day. The same number also told the consumer group that they usually chose refined carbs over healthy whole grains.

Hard to find the healthy eating here, isn’t it? Eating in this way sabotages a healthy eating plan and adds to your waistline.

Certainly drinking added calories is a bad idea – a much better choice is a diet soda (or water) and a piece of fruit. This satisfies the craving for something sweet, without adding the calories.

Another no-no the survey found, Americans rarely, if ever, count calories. Just 13% weigh themselves every day. According to the CDC, keeping an eye on your calories is a must if you’re trying to watch your weight. It’s no surprise than that 33% were startled to learn that their self reported healthy weight was actually in the overweight (25.0-29.9) or obese (over 30.0) BMI range.

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It’s clear there’s a disconnect between what people perceive as a healthy diet and what they do in real life. So, some advice… write down everything you eat for a week – then look at the list and ask yourself, “Is this a healthy diet?” Chances are, when you see precisely what you are eating, as opposed to what you think you’ve been eating, you’ll see there’s room for improvement.

And that’s the good news out of the survey; Americans did exhibit some healthy eating habits. A full 78% said they ate breakfast every day, which has long been associated with better weight control. What’s more, the breakfast choices are healthier too, fruit, fruit juice or cold cereal (Cheerios was number one) were tops among survey respondents. Doing this keeps hunger from getting foothold, so you have a better chance of staying on track, resisting snacks or the nearly irresistible urge to binge at that next meal.

When it came to eating fruits and veggies, one third of respondents said they ate the recommended five (or more) servings a day. Experts, including government ones, agree, eating lots of fruits and veggies, particularly the brightly colored ones that have higher levels of vitamins and minerals, is essential. As is putting aside the refined carbs and sugar sweetened drinks.

Making healthy food choices like avoiding all the processed foods and choosing whole grains instead are also the things you need to be doing, really doing, in order to give your body the healthy fuel it needs.