I have a passion for spreading the word about the benefits of eating healthy, and since I also spend a lot of time talking to friends, family and the occasional stranger at the grocery store or waiting room, I can pretty much tell you most of the reasons so many people are not enjoying the immeasurable benefits of healthy eating. While all of these excuses have some validity, nothing trumps the way you will feel and the improved health you will enjoy if you make eating healthy a priority.
Here is the top ten list of excuses along with some tips on how to overcome them:
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #1 - “Healthy food! Yuck! I don’t even like tofu (whatever that is) or bran muffins!”
There is a myth out there that if a food is healthy, it won’t taste good. When you consider all of the wonderful fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans, whole grains, etc., it’s difficult to imagine that there aren’t a number of foods in these groups that would taste good.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #2 - “I can’t afford to buy healthy food!”
While it is true that some fresh foods are more expensive than some junk foods, this is not always the case. Fast food is generally more expensive than buying groceries. In addition, you will get more nutrition for your food dollars when you buy fresh, whole foods, as opposed to empty calorie soft drinks and snacks.
If you have a tight food budget, do the best you can by choosing the best foods you can get for your money. You may also try getting some of your fresh foods locally through a co-op or farmer’s market. When you consider the rising cost of health care, what you really can’t afford is to not eat healthy.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #3 - “I take vitamins, so I don’t need to eat healthy.”
Many health experts do recommend that you supplement your diet with a good quality vitamin/mineral product. However, keep in mind that supplements cannot take the place of eating good quality, nutritious foods. Fresh, whole foods have components that simply cannot be isolated and put into a pill. There is also much we still don’t know about what your body needs for optimum health, except that fresh, whole foods seem to help provide it. Supplements should live up to their name by merely supplementing the healthy foods you eat.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #4 - “Are you kidding? With my job and my kids, I don’t have time to prepare healthy foods! Macaroni and cheese or Hamburger Helper is about my limit!”
Eating healthy may be more time consuming than picking up fast food for dinner, but with a little imagination and planning, you can do it. One idea is to plan some time on the weekend, or whenever you can fit it in, and do some food preparation for the whole week. You can make soup or other healthy recipes and freeze some for later use. You can chop up vegetables for salads and store them in a crisper for easy salads and snacks during the week. If you have fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and hard-boiled eggs on hand, there will be nutritious snack foods ready and waiting.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #5 - “I don’t have time to shop for healthy foods. Reading labels and choosing healthy foods takes too long! I’m overwhelmed as it is!”
Although it may take a longer to be an informed shopper, once you become label savvy and are accustomed to where the healthy foods are located, it will be just as quick as shopping for convenience foods. You may want to take a little time to plan and make a list, so that you don’t waste time trying to figure out what to buy. Then start reading labels and learn which foods you can rely on to be healthy. With very few exceptions, stay on the perimeter of the grocery store, where all the fresh foods are located. If you don’t waste time strolling past the snack foods section, you won’t be tempted to buy, and you will have more time to devote to the rest of your overwhelming life!
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #6 - “My children won’t eat healthy food. I can’t let them starve to death!”
This is a tough one! If children have been accustomed to eating junk food and processed food, it may take some effort to get them to enjoy more healthy choices. Try to find some fun ways to present healthy foods. Make healthy pancakes in fun shapes, or let the children get involved in the process by making healthy eating into a family project.
Suggest one new healthy food a week that everyone will try. Get some recipes for healthier versions of cookies, etc. and start introducing them to your kids. Give positive reinforcement for choosing healthy foods. Most importantly, model healthy eating to your kids and help them associate it with feeling well.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #7 - “So, what’s not healthy about a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate milkshake?”
For some, it is simply a case of not knowing what is good for them. Take a little time to learn about basic nutrition. Educate yourself about the food supply and the difference between whole and processed foods. A simple place to begin is to eat a variety of fresh, colorful foods each day, including some protein foods, such as meat, fish, beans, peanut butter, nuts, seeds whole grains and dairy products. Eat several servings of fruits or vegetables with each meal, and limit your intake of added sugar and fats.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #8 - “Healthy food is not any fun!”
For most people, eating is one of life’s pleasures and many of us associate happy times with certain kinds of foods. The goods news is that healthy food can also be part of a good time. Food that is beautifully prepared and presented can be healthy and delicious and provide an enjoyable experience for all. Make a point to look for foods that are both fun and healthy. Dark chocolate, for instance, if not eaten in excess has some good qualities and may enhance your mood! Keep in mind that as long as you are making healthy choices most of the time, an occasional piece of birthday cake or holiday treat will not be an issue for you.
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #9 - “I would like to eat healthy, but I don’t have any will power. The devil made me do it!”
Even if your will power is weak, you can make small steps towards a healthy eating lifestyle. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a bad choice, since that may lead to more bad choices. Each time you make a change in your eating habits for the better, you are closer to feeling great and having vibrant good health. Fill your refrigerator and cupboards with healthy foods that you like to eat, and leave the processed and empty calorie foods at the store. It takes less will power, if the temptation is out of sight. And don’t use your kids as an excuse to buy junk food. It’s not good for them and it’s not good for you either!
Missing the effects of healthy eating Excuse #10 - “Experts can’t even agree on what’s healthy! Every day I hear conflicting information about what’s good for you and what isn’t. For all I know, hot fudge sundaes are health food!”
My friends will tell you that this is the one excuse out of all of them that makes my eyes flash and my teeth clench! I am appalled at all the junk science and junk journalism that is out there causing confusion and mayhem in the culinary world! Some have a vested interest in promoting a certain food or ingredient, and it’s not your good health! On the other hand, most of us know, generally, what foods are healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and dairy products—in other words real foods!
If any of these excuses is keeping you from enjoying the matchless benefits of healthy eating, I hope you will decide to make a change for the better. You can’t control many of the factors that affect your life, but you can choose to make eating choices that will ensure that you are doing all you can to feel well and be healthy. No excuses.
Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,