Healthy Eating in an Imperfect World
No time to eat right? WebMD has the solution.
Eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Choose whole-grain,
nonfat, or low-fat foods. Be physically active daily. Watch calories. Limit the
fat. Get enough calcium.
We live in a world with a dizzying amount of scientific research pointing to
foods and habits that make for good health. In an ideal universe, that's good
news. If we exercise and eat right, we give our bodies essential nourishment
and movement to work at their best.
Yet our world is far from ideal. There are responsibilities, deadlines, and
food or lifestyle preferences that get in the way of healthy eating. Real life
happens, and in the rush to satisfy daily hunger and desires, we may succumb to
It doesn't always have to be that way. No matter what our lives are like,
there's always room for improvement.
"There is always something positive that can be done for our
health," says Sue Moores, MSRD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic
Association (ADA). "Maybe it's eating an extra fruit a day, maybe it's
cooking a food a different way, or maybe it's (trying) a new food that's out
that we didn't know much about because of all the ethnic influences."
Making an effort to eat healthy does not mean abandoning our lives. Find a
few minutes to think about a small nutrition goal, how you think you can reach
it, and what can prevent you from success. Then devise a plan.
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
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