If you’re like the majority of American adults, you may believe you have healthy eating habits when in reality there are some key nutritional gaps. A study conducted by HealthiNation revealed Americans have an overly optimistic view of their nutritional well-being. The study shows that 52% of adults feel they are achieving a balanced diet and eating right when in reality, 76% of adults don’t get the daily minimum amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the USDA.
So where is this discrepancy happening? Why do adults think they eat better than they actually do? Something that could be contributing to this is the new availability of healthy options from fast-food restaurants. The Huffington Post writes about one of the latest healthy fast-food breakfast options – oatmeal (link to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/fast-food-oatmeals_b_829652.html). While on the surface, oatmeal appears to be a healthy choice due to the whole grains from the oats, fruit toppings, and nuts (in some varieties), the evil is in the added ingredients and mix-ins some restaurants provide. These additional ingredients include sweetened dried fruits, brown sugar, and cream. Making oatmeal at home would be the better option and doesn’t take much time. Just add fresh fruit for added sweetness and you’re out the door.
Another culprit may be the idea that because we aren’t eating ‘bad’ foods, that must mean we’re eating well. That isn’t necessarily true and in some cases, may be worse since these foods don’t provide any nutrition at all. Take, for example, the Tea and Toast Syndrome that many senior citizens suffer from. In the February issue ofFood Nutrition & Science, it was found that seniors who live alone often don’t prepare meals and lose vital nutrients and risk their health as a result. Of course, anyone who has lived alone has probably experienced the exact same thing. Cooking for one can be inconvenient and time-consuming. Most single adults would rather eat a small meal of soup and crackers, for example, rather than spend the time preparing a nutritious meal for one. One way to combat this syndrome is to remember that there are easily prepared foods available with higher nutritional value such as bananas, cheese, and low-fat yogurt. And let’s not forget that fresh veggies are easily cut into smaller portions and can be steamed in a short amount of time. You can bet that raw vegetables can be steamed and ready to eat as quickly as a can of soup can be heated − plus the vegetables will be much better for you.
We’ve covered how many people are most likely ‘eating wrong’ but what does it mean to ‘eat right?’ Something nutritionists suggest in this Fox News article is to eat right with color. This means that you should maintain a colorful plate by choosing foods with colors found in the rainbow. It guarantees that you’ll be consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables that’ll provide your body with the variety of nutrients and phytonutrients it needs to function well.
Do you really eat a nutritionally balanced diet?