By: Madelyn H. Fernstrom, PhD, CNS Date: 3/26/12
One of the questions I’m asked very often is “what should I eat to be healthy.”
I believe that most people know what to do. What they really want to know how is to do the right thing consistently. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything “right” and become perfect eaters. However, this can sometimes lead to a lot of eating frustration, lack of interest and poor food choices. But there are solutions. Here are a few!
· First, accept that healthy eating is a process – and your eating goals should be established based on your current habits. While the latest science might support consuming 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, that falls into the “perfect eater” category for most people.
· The “better” eater takes a look at daily produce consumption, and asks where one or two more serving could be added. This avoids “setting the bar too high” for success. And when the bar is set too high, it’s natural to do nothing, since a little effort never seems to be good enough.
· The best advice for healthier eating is to improve upon what you do now, in small ways. Reframe your thinking and understand that a modest, realistic eating change sustained over time is a definite health plus.
· Don’t be discouraged when you read the “latest news” on healthy eating. Don’t feel as though you’re falling behind and can’t keep up.
· Continue to focus on small, consistent changes in your daily behaviors. These are exactly the kinds of changes you can sustain for a lifetime.
It takes about three weeks to change a habit – and there is no behavior too small to tackle when it supports good health. Know and accept yourself for what you are willing and able to do.
And please share with us any small changes you made this month to become a better eater. Everyone can benefit from your experience.