Eat Healthy in an Imperfect World (cont.)
These people can be very particular about what they put in their mouths. They may not like certain textures, tastes, or preparations of food. They may wince at healthy options such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat, low-sugar, low-calorie, or low-sodium products. Or they may shun everything but their certain set of comfort foods.
Gidus reminds fussy eaters that a variety of foods in moderation is important for good health. "Try to expand your horizons," she says. "If you eat the same thing everyday, you may not be getting enough nutrients."
Trying something new does not mean going for the exotic. Make a list of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other foods that might be acceptable for you to try. You may not like apples, but how about grapes or pears? Instead of just balking at spinach, why not sample red leaf lettuce?
If you don't like food prepared a certain way, try it raw -- if applicable -- or presented in another way. You could also combine new foods with already favored edibles.
"Some vegetables can be made into soups so that you're not having to eat the raw broccoli. If you like bagels, you can put some low-fat cream cheese and then some crushed pineapple or shredded carrots. Have fruit juice with club soda," suggests Claudia Fajardo-Lira, PhD, a nutrition expert with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and assistant professor at the department of environmental sciences at California State University, Northridge.
"If you eat in front of the TV, you probably have no sense of how much you're eating."
When trying new foods, go easy on yourself, says Moores. Check out a new dish every week as opposed to every day. If you're not used to brown rice, try mixing brown and white rice first. Or you could mix the brown rice with different herbs and spices.
Motivating Couch Potatoes
You love your TV shows, and can't think of a better way to relax after a hard day's work. Yet studies have found a strong relationship between tube-watching and obesity. Perhaps it's because TV viewing is a sedentary activity. Or maybe it's because people tend to eat mindlessly in front of the screen.
If you eat in front of the TV, you probably have no sense of how much you're eating, says Christine Filardo, MSRD, director of public relations for the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), a nonprofit consumer education group. PBH helps run the national "5 A Day" campaign to increase fruit and vegetable consumption 5 or more a day for 75% of Americans by 2010.
"If you're sitting there [in front of the TV], and you rip open a bag of chips, it's very easy to eat the entire bag of chips and not really think about what you're doing, because your main focus is not on what you're eating, but on what you're watching," says Filardo.
Substitute candy and chips for light popcorn. Baby carrots with a low-fat dip and a bowl of fruit are also good alternatives. Also try light yogurt instead of ice cream.
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