Healthy eating mistakes in your diet are almost undetectable because you often feel like you’re doing the right thing, even when what you’re doing is detrimental to your health. The good news is that once you know what they are, it’ll be easier to avoid the most common mistakes.
23 Healthy Eating Mistakes and How to Fix Them
1. Trying to Burn Off Calories Through Exercise
A bad diet can’t be helped by exercise alone. Consistent exercise can help burn more calories but this won’t seem like a lot if you constantly consume more calories than your body can burn.
When you exercise you burn energy and this energy comes from the food you eat or stored fat that your body will utilize for energy. However, your body can’t do this if it’s not getting enough nutrients to promote a healthy metabolism.
Tip: Diet and exercise go hand in hand. You can use strength training to build muscle and boost your metabolism to burn off the calories but your body needs help from healthy foods. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest.
2. Healthy Banana Splits
Here’s a healthy dessert they say you can add to your breakfast meal plans. This recipe substitutes the ice cream with Greek yogurt. However, it’s also a layered dessert with yogurt at the bottom, then granola, the sliced bananas, strawberries, and pineapple, and another layer of yogurt on top.
Tip: The best way to keep yourself from overeating is by making a meal plan that takes into account the necessary calories you need while living an active lifestyle. This will help you monitor how much you should eat after a workout.
3. Not Eating After a Workout
Some people skip out on a meal after a workout. This will leave your body with no nutrients during a period in which you need them most to help build and repair muscle from your workout.
Tip: Your body needs carbs and protein after a workout. The protein will help rebuild your muscles while the carbs will refill your energy levels to keep going throughout the day.
4. Working Out on an Empty Stomach
Some diets like intermittent fasting might make you do a workout session on an empty stomach to fit your feeding schedule. Without the necessary fuel in your body, your performance will suffer during your workout and there’s a risk of injury.
Tip: Always have a meal or pre-workout snack before you start your workout. Eating a healthy meal before a workout will keep your energy up and improve your performance.
5. Cutting on All Kinds of Carbs
There’s a lot of bad rep revolving around carbohydrates. This leads to people cutting out all carbs from their diet and only eating vegetables and protein which brings down their blood sugar and leads to binging.
Not all carbs are the same. It’s not just in rice, bread, and pasta. You can also find it in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products in the form of starches, fiber, and sugars.
Tip: Instead of cutting out all kinds of carbs from your diet, replace them with carbs that have higher nutritional values such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, and fruits.
6. Relying on Supplements and Vitamins
A lot of people religiously take their supplements and vitamins and assume they are a good replacement for healthy meals. Supplements are not replacements for whole, real, and nutritious foods, no matter how many vitamins it claims to have.
Tip: Taking daily vitamins doesn’t mean you should forget about all the fruits and vegetables that offer the same nutrients. These are more bioavailable to your body than the artificial and processed content in supplements.
7. Strict Diets and Extreme Cheat Days
After a whole week of a strict dieting, you’re going to experience extreme cravings. This will lead to cheat days filled with all the food you didn’t eat during the week.
Tip: The best way to avoid this setback is by not letting your cheat days revolve around food. Instead of eating out, do an activity like yoga or hiking. This will also help keep your mind off of the junk food you’re craving.
8. Eating Too Many Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are great alternatives to processed and saturated fats but too much can also be harmful to your body. High-fat plant foods like nuts, olives, and avocados are great sources of healthy fats but they’re high in calories.
Tip: No matter what you’re eating, always eat in moderation. During every meal or snack you should only consume:
- a quarter of an avocado
- a drizzle of olive oil
- half a handful of olives
- a handful of nuts
9. Thinking All Diets will Work for You
These days everyone’s looking for the easy way out and will try whatever diet is popular. Not all diets will work for you because everyone has a different body type and can react differently to these diet regimens.
One specific diet advises you to eat 6 smalls meal per day to boost your metabolism and promote fat burn. The truth is, research has shown that this diet can promote weight loss in some people and weight gain for others.
Tip: Find out more about your body to know which diet will work best for you. You can talk to a nutritionist or try each diet with a grain of salt until you find the one that leads you to better results.
10. Having a Fruits-and-Veggies-Only Diet
A lot of people say you can stay healthy by eating fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, there are a lot more nutrients in vegetables than fruits but it’s a healthy eating mistake to be on a diet filled with just these two.
Tip: You can obtain all your necessary nutrients from different whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and some animal products. Variety in your diet will also keep your diet from becoming boring which can lead to binging.
11. Buying Non-Fat Foods
A lot of people looking to lose weight will look around the grocery aisle for low-fat or non-fat versions of their foods. The main problem with these foods is that they replace the fats with sugar.
Tip: Check the ingredients and compare it to the original product to find out what artificial ingredients they’re sneaking into the non-fat version. At the end of the day, you should opt for healthy fats instead of processed and packaged foods.
12. Only Eating Egg Whites
Everyone wants to meet their daily protein intake and eggs have 6 grams worth of protein. You’ve probably heard people say eat 7 eggs a day to meet your protein requirement but you’re scared of the cholesterol content and you’ve decided to eat egg whites only.
If you throw away the yolk, you’re throwing away half its calories and protein and a lot of powerful vitamins and nutrients. The truth is, eating yolks doesn’t increase your cholesterol levels and the more you eat them, the more your body will adjust to regulate the cholesterol intake. In fact, dietary cholesterol has very little impact on the lipid levels in your body.
Tip: Don’t throw away your yolks and settle for half the nutrients and protein you could be getting. As long as your cholesterol level is already healthy, then your body will help regulate the cholesterol intake from the eggs.
13. Not Considering Food Synergy
Food synergy is all about the relationships between the components within your food and other foods. You could be mixing foods that cancel out each other’s nutrients or peeling your food may be taking away half of its nutritional value.
Tip: Always do research on how certain foods react to each other and find out the best way to consume some foods to get the most out of their nutrients. Here are a few examples:
- Don’t peel your apples. The phytochemicals in the apple peel make up most of the healthy antioxidants of the apple.
- Don’t peel tomatoes. This is the same for tomatoes. Slice or cook the tomatoes whole in order to consume their maximum nutrient value.
- Set aside chopped or minced garlic for 15 minutes. You need to chop the garlic in order to release its antioxidants. Giving it time for an enzymatic reaction will ensure that your dish is filled with its health benefits.
- Include healthy fats in your salad dressing. Healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil go great with your vegetable salad. Their fats help your body absorb the phytochemicals in the vegetables.
14. Stocking Up on Fresh Produce
The moment vegetables and fruits are harvested, they start losing a few of their minerals and vitamins. This means stocking up on produce and keeping them crisp in your fridge for a week will lessen their nutritional value.
Tip: Don’t bulk buy your fresh fruits and vegetables. Only buy what you’re going to eat within 3 days. If this is too time-consuming for your schedule, look for frozen produce. These are flash-frozen right after they’ve been harvested at their peak.
15. Constantly Eating the Same Foods
It gets difficult to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients you need and at the same time keeping your meals delicious and appetizing. This can get tiring and time-consuming so we often choose to stick to certain meals over and over again.
Eating the same foods, again and again, can do more harm to your diet than good. You can build food intolerance which leads to leaky gut or fat storage. Eating too much of the same food can also be toxic for your body.
Tip: As much as possible, introduce variety into your diet. This will actually help you reach your nutrient requirements.
16. Going Vegan
Most plant-based eaters will swap the animal products they’re used to for processed foods made of plants. These are pretty much vegan junk food filled with the same ingredients of sodium and saturated fats.
Tip: Not all plant-based substitutes are unhealthy but be aware of foods like vegan hotdogs which contain plant-based chemical tubes. Always read the ingredients list of what you’re buying.
17. Assuming Some Foods are Healthy
This often happens to people who shop for whole grain products or whole wheat. As long as the products’ packaging has the words “Whole Grain” or “Made with Whole Grains,” they never bother to read the ingredients list to check if it’s true.
Tip: Always check the ingredients and see if there is anything described as a whole grain or whole wheat product at the top of the list. The first ingredients mentioned in the list make up most of the food you’re buying.
18. Not Thinking About Calories
With all the focus on carbs, the biggest healthy eating mistake is not thinking about calories. A lot of people don’t think about how many calories they actually need in the day and focus more on how much they need to cut or burn off.
When you’re not monitoring the calories in the food you eat, you won’t know whether you’re eating enough or too much. For anyone living a sedentary lifestyle, the average amount of calories they need in a day is 2,000-2,400.
Another major problem with calorie consumption is that most people think calories are all the same. Calories are only measurements of the calorie content in your food but they can be made up of different kinds of nutrients such as fats, carbs, and protein.
If you start counting your calories, don’t forget to count the calories you’re drinking. Count the calories in your smoothie, juice, soft drinks, and alcoholic drinks like beer and wine.
Tip: Use a calorie app to help you keep track of your daily calorie consumption. Make sure you know the portion of your intake to get an accurate reading on its calories. Eat vegetables to make up a small number of your calories while keeping you full throughout the day.
19. Missing Macros in Your Diet
Macronutrients are nutrients that your body needs regularly and in large amounts but the current American diet is high in carbs because it’s the most affordable and accessible. This means there’s a great imbalance in our diets.
Tip: In order to have a more balanced diet, you need to make sure you’re eating enough protein and fats along with your carbs. The recommended ratio for a meal is for it to be made up of 60% carbs, 30% protein, and 10% fat.
20. Multi-Tasking While Eating
You may think you’re living a healthy lifestyle when you eat and walk at the same time but eating while standing or walking prevents you from mindfully eating. Not paying attention to the food you eat means you’re not focusing on your satiety.
This is the same for eating while driving. Almost every food chain has a drive-thru window. While you’re focusing on the road, you’re distracted and aren’t focusing on your food. This can lead to overeating and binging.
Tip: Sit down and focus on your meal. Keep away from distractions like a TV or your phone. You should also take your time while eating because eating too fast won’t let your stomach send signals in time for your brain to know you’re full.
21. Forgetting to Count Portion Size
Everyone assumes that eating at home is a lot healthier because you know what goes into your food and how many calories you’re consuming. On the other hand, if you’re not paying attention to portion sizes, you’re going to end up eating more.
Tip: When you’re cooking from a recipe book, try to cook less than the indicated serving size to lessen the calories of your meal.
22. Drinking Lots of Fresh Fruit Juice
Juicing is another healthy eating mistake that’s filled with misconceptions. Just because you’re juicing fresh fruits doesn’t mean they’re the healthiest option. Fruit juices can still be high in calories and sugar content.
Another problem with juicing, as well as drinking smoothies, is that the process of making these drinks decreases the fruits’ nutrients. The process destroys or removes the insoluble fiber of the fruits which helps regulate rapid sugar absorption in your small intestine.
Tip: At the end of the day, it’s a lot healthier to eat your foods raw and completely unprocessed. You should also keep an eye on the fructose sugar content of some fruits to better manage your glucose and insulin levels.
23. Buying Non-Dairy Milk
A lot of diets promote the consumption of soy, rice, almond, coconut, cashew, and oat milk instead of dairy milk but their nutritional value is not the same. These kinds of milk have fewer nutrients like protein, potassium, and vitamins A and D.
Some nut milk can also have higher sugar content and calories to make them taste better. This could be because they are a lot more diluted with water to make the milk hydrating.
Tip: If you’re looking for non-dairy milk because you’re lactose-intolerant or vegan, choose soy milk as often as possible. Soy milk’s protein content is almost the same as dairy milk.
Know the pros and cons of the intermittent fasting diet in the video below:
Before you can develop healthy eating habits, you need to get rid of these healthy eating mistakes. Keep track of what you eat and find out how to adjust your diet. Then make a meal plan to help keep your consumption on the right track.
Do you have more questions about healthy eating mistakes and how to start eating healthy for good? Drop your questions in the comments section below!