Old habits die hard. Chances are, if you’ve been following the same food rules since you were a tiny tot, you’ve probably accepted them as true. I mean, moms know best, right? Well, not always. With new research being done, food and nutrition advice is constantly changing, putting to bed some of those rules you probably still swear by. Web MD has pinpointed five old adages that misguided your parents, and how you can fix them to modify your healthy habits and instill new ones in your family.
1. No snacking! You’ll ruin your appetite! We’ve all heard this; mom telling us to drop the animal crackers because dinner is only an hour away. Well, the advice about snacking has grown up. Snacking can be healthy, as long as you choose wisely and keep calories in check. It keeps your blood sugar stable and keeps you from getting overly hungry between meals. Of course, calories still count, so don’t go crazy! Be mindful of portions and try to cut back slightly during meals to make room for healthy snacks such as an apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, a serving of whole grain crackers with a low-fat string cheese, or a quarter cup of trail mix.
2. You can’t leave the table until you’ve finished everything on your plate. So many of us grew up as members of the “Clean Plate Club” and being reminded that children were starving elsewhere. Once you’re used to finishing your entire plate, it can be difficult to stop, which is why many of us continue to lick our plates clean. Actually, it’s preferable to leave a little food on your plate at each meal, getting in-tune with your body, and stopping when you’ve had enough. Pay close attention during meals: Are you full? Are you eating just because there’s still food on your plate? Be extra careful when eating out – the food is tempting, the portions are huge, and you want to eat it all because you paid for it. Try wrapping half of you entrée before you start eating, and you’re much more likely to stay out of trouble.
3. Don’t eat before exercising – you’ll get a cramp. Obviously, an 8-mile run immediately after dinner isn’t the best idea, but eating something small and nutritious 30-60 minutes before exercise can help you maximize your workout. Choose high-carbohydrate, low-fat, low-fiber snacks with moderate amounts of protein in the 100-300 calorie range, such as a glass of chocolate milk, a slice of whole grain toast with almond butter, or a healthy energy bar, such as Luna.
4. Hurry up! Did your parents coach you into wolfing down your cereal in the morning so that you wouldn’t miss the school bus? The trouble with rushing is that if you eat quickly, you’re more likely to miss your body’s fullness cues. After all, it takes 20 minutes for your body to register the food you’ve eaten, so if you down a lot of food in that time, you’ll end up stuffed. Make a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy your meals. Take mini breaks, putting your utensils down between bites. Even try eating with chop sticks – they require coordination, which is sure to slow you down and make you pay attention!
5. You deserve dessert today! A trip to the ice cream parlor for a good report card, cookies after winning the big game, or a candy bar after you’ve finished your broccoli. While your parents may have been well-intentioned, you never want to use food as a reward. This messes with your thinking, causing you to no longer eat when you’re hungry, but because you were good and you deserve something. Stop using food as a prize, and reward yourself with other things such as a trip to the movies, a manicure, or a phone call to a friend. This might take some work, but soon you’ll realize how often you were using food to pat yourself on the back. If you really dread vegetables, it’s time to explore some fresh options. Look for new or in-season veggies at the supermarket, browse recipes online, and come up with a few selections you might actually like. Also, give the ones you think you hate another shot. We’re pretty sure nobody likes the boiled Brussels sprouts of their youth, but roasting them with olive oil, salt, and pepper is delicious.
Click on over to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at www.eatright.org for more healthy eating tips and recipes! If Family Food can help, we’d love to meet you! Please contact us by phone or e-mail, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. Also, you could be entitled to SIX FREE visits with our registered dietitians! Check our “Services” tab to explore your options and see if your insurance plan qualifies!