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Hard to Eat Healthy?

July 11, 2012

For you, personally, what’s the hardest part of eating a healthy diet?

If you can determine what your biggest obstacle is, you can figure out – maybe with the help of a nutrition counselor – the best way to circumvent it.

If the hardest part for you is cost, I can think of several tactics right off the top of my head that can help eliminate that obstacle. Eating seasonally is a biggie. Frequent farmers markets; some cities have them year-round. Buying produce in season that hasn’t been shipped long distances is not only more nutritious, but cheaper, too. Another tip for keeping costs down is buying in bulk – foods like beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds can all be found in the bulk bins at your local Whole Foods or co-op market.

If the hardest part is the time it takes to cook healthfully, maybe you need to rethink your menus or find shortcuts. Yes, cooking bean soup from scratch takes time, especially if you decide you must make your own vegetable broth, too. Can you cut the time by using high-quality canned beans, like Eden Organic, or broth like low-sodium Pacific or Imagine brands? Can you incorporate healthful stir-fries into your diet, many of which take under 30 minutes to prepare? The World’s Healthiest Foods, a book by George Mateljan, offers many recipes that take just 5 or 7 minutes to prepare – and the healthful foods used retain most of their nutrients because of the quick cooking times.

You’d be amazed at how often clients simply answer “habit” when I ask why they continue to eat unhealthy foods. Habits can be broken, although it takes some time to figure out why you do the things you do. Check out Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit for guidance in breaking a habit, anything from biting your nails to eating ice cream every single evening.

When it comes to eating healthfully, there’s really no obstacle that’s too big to overcome – even if your mind determinedly tells you that you can’t do it. Don’t hold yourself back – you can have a healthy diet, if you really want one.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2012 9:35 am

    A lot of people just do not want to change. We have become an instant gratification society and people do not want to take the time to cook; they prefer to stick in a frozen cardboard meal into the microwave. Yet they love eating at my house because we cook, using local meats and produce, from scratch and they recognize the taste of the difference. They also do not want to think about the long term effects of eating all the chemicals in those processed foods. How do you persuade people to make changes?

  2. July 11, 2012 9:48 am

    You make a really great point. Many people simply can’t be persuaded to change their diets, unless they have a compelling reason to. Typically — and unfortunately — that means a health crisis — e.g., heart disease, diabetes, cancer. If the medical establishment got on board with the benefits of nutrition for wellness instead of pharmaceuticals for disease, that would help enormously.

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  1. Hard to Eat Healthy? « Nutrition U | Healthier Eating Tips

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