Eat Healthy in an Imperfect World (cont.)

Without this vital planning stage, all good intentions can be for naught. "People need to spend just a little bit of effort planning ahead so that they just don't wait until the last minute until they're ravenously hungry and then make poor choices," says Tara Gidus, RD, also a spokeswoman for the ADA. She says people think preparing for a healthy diet takes a lot more effort than it really does.

To make it easy for aspiring healthy eaters, WebMD has put together a list of common obstacles that get in the way of good nutrition, and asked the experts for some advice on how to overcome these road blocks.

Busy Bees Can Eat Healthy, Too

Demands of work, family, and community can keep people from preparing for healthy meals. This is true for workaholics, supermoms and dads, overachievers, frequent travelers, and a host of other people trying to beat the clock. Because of their lack of time, these folks often turn to quick-fix foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium, or calories, and low in essential nutrients.

The solution isn't to find more time, but to work with the schedule you do have. The minutes spent perusing fast-food or vending machine options could be used toward time to visit the grocery store, where you can pick up prepared salads, sandwiches, and meats, pre-washed and cut fruits and vegetables, canned soups, low-calorie and low-fat frozen meals, yogurt, string cheese, and cereals.

There may be a bit more effort involved in shopping at the supermarket, but wasteful hours of worry about flab and low energy do tend to go away with healthy eating. With well-balanced meals, we usually feel more positive about ourselves and our surroundings.

"We continue to see a really strong link between how we eat and what we eat, and being well," says Moores. "The better we do on our part to choose good foods and eat healthfully, the more effect it has on helping us stay well, feel good, and enjoy life."

Here are some more healthy tips for busy bees:

  • Cook a bigger batch of food on the weekends, and refrigerate or freeze for weekday consumption.
  • Set an alarm for mealtimes. Even if you're buried in a project, don't skip meals; designate a time to eat.
  • Try not to do anything else while eating. Mindless consumption prevents the enjoyment of food. When that happens, people tend to eat more and eat unhealthy alternatives.
  • Put fresh or dried fruit where you can see it to remind yourself of your goal to eat healthy. Bananas, grapes, and apples make handy and nutritious snack items.
  • If at a restaurant, turn down the supersize option, and choose baked and broiled instead of fried.
  • Order the lunch portion at dinnertime, and hold off on fatty condiments.
  • Keep handy snacks around, such as fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, trail mix, carrot or celery sticks, wraps, and sandwiches.

Tips for Fussy Eaters