Are you trying to lose weight this year or just feel better in yourself? Healthy eating is one of the first steps to doing so, but it can be confusing to work out what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
You might think your diet is ideal diet, but some of your eating habits may not be as healthy as you think. That’s why we’ve put together five healthy eating myths to avoid this year.
Myth #1: Eating Low Fat Foods
Processed foods that are low in fat are often high in carbohydrate because they contain added sugars. As a result, these foods can make you hungrier, thanks to the way they affect your blood sugar.
Many nutrition experts believe it’s better to eat smaller portions of full-fat foods rather than having larger quantities of processed low-fat ones. Full-fat foods may be higher in calories than low-fat ones, but the extra amount of fat they contain will help you feel fuller for longer.
Myth #2: Serving Tiny Portions
You may think that reducing your portions sizes drastically is the fastest way to lose weight. But eating far less than your body needs isn’t sustainable in the long term, and it’s likely to make you reach for unhealthy snacks.
Try to stick to standard portion sizes rather than tiny ones – that way you’re far less likely to feel hungry. As a general rule a standard size portion of pasta is the size of a tennis ball; a portion of cheese is the size of a matchbox; a portion of protein food – such as meat, chicken, fish or tofu – is the size of a deck of cards; and a portion of vegetables is the amount that fits into a single cupped hand.
Myth #3: Denying yourself treats
Like serving yourself tiny portions, not allowing yourself your favourite treats is too restrictive, and you won’t be able to stick to having much less for long. Plus it’s natural to crave foods that you’ve banned yourself from having – try telling yourself you absolutely cannot have chocolate, and it’s all you’ll be able to think about.
It’s fine to have treats, even every day, as long as you have them in moderation. For example, having a square or two of good-quality dark chocolate on a daily basis could actually help you stick to your eating plan. It could also be good for you, as dark chocolate contains nutrients that are thought to have a positive effect on your health.
Myth #4: Choosing ‘healthy’ snacks
If you’ve swapped chocolate, biscuits and crisps for healthy alternatives such as nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make your snacking habits healthier, be aware that all of these can be high in calories. Just because something is considered healthy or nutritious, it doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you like if you’re watching your weight.
Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are all good snack choices – just limit yourself to small amounts of them rather than dipping in and out of a family-size bag throughout the day. Alternatively snack on raw veggies instead.
Myth #5: Cutting out certain food groups
When trying to lose weight, you might think that cutting out certain foods like carbs will help. But you may in fact be cutting out foods you don’t need to.
The NHS has a guide to how much you should be eating from each food group to have a healthy, balanced diet.