Correcting the Most Common Healthy Eating Mistakes | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

The 8 Most Common Healthy Eating Mistakes

February 13, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

Struggling to live healthier, clean up your eating and lose weight? Here's the good news: it's not your fault. So many misconceptions and false advertisements are thrown at us on a consistent basis that it's hard to know what's correct. Far too often, I make the same mistakes as my clients. Here are the most common mistakes I see on a daily basis and how to fix them.

1. Skipping Breakfast

The notion of "calories in calories out" makes us believe that if we skip a meal, we'll reduce calories and lose weight. This is probably the worst thing you can do. When you skip breakfast, your metabolism slows down, and over time your body begins to store food to protect itself. You're also more likely to overeat later in the day, as your body seeks the calories it was lacking. It seems surprising, but undereating (rather than overeating) is typically what I see that leads to weight gain.

Correction: The key to healthy eating (and losing weight) is to fuel your body, starting with a balanced breakfast.

Try these great options:

2. Going Too Long Between Meals

This is similar to the first mistake. When you go too long between meals, you're likely to make an unhealthy choice or overeat at your next meal. Again undereating typically leads to weight gain.

Correction: Eating healthy snacks can help you keep your energy levels up and lose weight.

3. Ordering Restaurant Salads

It's definitely possible to eat healthy when you eat out. I like to order lean protein and vegetables, sometimes in a salad. But don't assume that salad is always your best choice. Restaurant salads are often loaded with fried items, buttery croutons, bacon, cheese and creamy dressings. (Read these Restaurant Eating Guidelines.)

Correction: Look at the menu ahead of time and decide before you go. Order first so you are not tempted to change your mind. Feel free to customize. And nix the high-fat toppings, or ask for dressing on the side.

4. Drinking Your Calories

What's the easiest way to clean up your diet? Cut back on sodas, sweet teas and juice. Yes, even 100% fruit juice contains sugar, sometimes nearly as much as soda. Beware of flavored, sweetened coffees. They can add up the calories without your even realizing it. (See How to Stick to Your Diet at Starbucks.)

Correction: Even though fruit juice has vitamins, I recommend getting the nutrients from whole fruit instead. It will also provide you with some fiber and keep you feeling full longer. 

5. Cutting out Sweets

Under no circumstances should you cut out desserts, sweets, or other foods you love because you think they are unhealthy. It's important to enjoy what you are eating, or what's the point? (See Eat What You Love: 3 Simple Guidelines for Healthy Trade-Offs.)

Correction: Consume these foods in sensible ways and small portions. The more you eat them, the less likely you are to crave them and overindulge. One of my favorite snacks is homemade trail mix with chocolate chips and nuts. I get a sweet fix balanced with protein and healthy fats.

6. Being Unprepared

As with anything, planning ahead, having snacks and meals ready, is part of achieving your nutrition goals. We all have great intentions—until we get busy. The more prepared you are for your busy week, the more likely you are to stay on track.

Correction:  Grocery shop on weekends and do the time-consuming things like chopping up produce. You can even create some meals to freeze and have on hand. Always carry snacks in case you're caught somewhere and get hungry.

7. Eating When You're Not Hungry

If you're going through your day starving, you are doing something wrong. Pay close attention to your hunger cues, and fuel your body when it asks for fuel.

Correction: Rank your hunger pangs on a scale of 1 to 5 and assess your mood before eating. Are you bored, stressed, upset or happy? Are you truly hungry or just not feeling yourself? The more you can do this, the more intuitive you will be with your eating.

8. Doing It Alone

We all have areas of our lives where we can use some help. When taking on a major change, seek support from family, friends, or health professionals. Let them know how they can best support you and in what ways.

Correction: My number one piece of advice is to meet with a registered dietitian to get a personalized plan that fits your lifestyle.

Topics: DIET
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,797,502
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,305,124
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 2,605,280

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 147,463
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,254,658
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 23,946
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

So Happy Together Foods that Pack a Power Punch together Nutritional Power Combinations Amy Jamieson-Petonic Want to take your workout to the next...

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

The Case for Red Meat

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The Boston Cannons'

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short