June 06, 2013

Ask the RD: 5 Nutrition Mistakes You May Be Making

Many people are focusing on eating healthier these days. Here are some commonly seen mistakes that you may be making. Read below to learn about these mistakes and what you can do to fix them.
1. Drinking your calories- Many beverages are high in calories but are not very filling. Juice for example has around 110-150 calories per 8 ounce serving. Fancy coffee drinks contain as many as 800 calories for a size large. These high calorie drinks add up and can contribute to weight gain.

Your best option is to stick with low-calorie or calorie free beverages including water, unsweetened hot or iced tea and coffee.

2. Skipping breakfast- I'm sure you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it's true! When you eat breakfast, you get your metabolism going for the day and end up eating less overall than if you skipped breakfast.

Eat breakfast within a couple hours of waking up. Most days, I have oatmeal with peanut butter or Greek yogurt.

3. Skimping on protein- Protein helps keep you full until your next meal making it a smart macronutrient to focus on. It also helps with muscle building and repair. Having a low-protein meal can make you ravenous sooner than a protein-rich meal. Most people need about 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. A 140 lb woman needs 51-76 grams of protein per day depending on activity level.

Instead of 3 pancakes for a meal, have one pancake and a couple of eggs. For lunch, toss some canned tuna on top of a salad. For dinner, make bean burritos full of vegetables.

4. Eating high sodium foods- Most people know by now the negative effects of consuming too much sodium. People are adding less salt to their foods but many people do not know some of the uncommon foods that are high in salt. Reduce intake of packaged foods which are often higher in sodium than fresh foods. 

Check sodium content of breads, ready-to-eat cereals, ketchup, tomato sauce and cottage cheese. These are often high in sodium. Look for lower sodium varieties of these products.

5.  Eating extra calories for exercising- Many people believe that if they workout, they can eat whatever they want or eat all of the calories that they burned. This is not the case. Unless you are doing extreme exercise such as working out hard for an hour a day or more, you do not need many extra calories than if you do not exercise. Think about this, in our ancestor's days, they had to do a lot of physical labor just to live. Now, many things are digital or pre-made which saves us from doing labor. Exercise becomes even more of a necessity for us due to the lack of work we are doing.

If you workout, have a snack about 30 minutes after your workout such as a glass of chocolate milk which combines both protein and carbohydrates. You most likely do not need to eat any extra calories for a workout like a walk or 30 minutes of cardio. 

What nutrition mistakes have you made that you have learned from?

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  1. Overeating on healthy foods! I think i started to pay less attention to portion sizes because I was eating clean foods...but I just ate way too much of them. I'm trying to learn how to establish portion control!

    1. Absolutely! That is a great one. I struggle with the same thing. 500 calories of hummus and pita chips is basically the same on the body as 500 calories of french fries.

  2. Ohhh yes, I've made all these mistakes at one point in my life! Recently I made the mistake of NOT reading a food label, only to realize they had changed the formula on me and now it contained something I didn't like. Ugh, live and learn!

  3. Yes Gina, I hate when the nutrition changes suddenly on a product. It makes you wonder what happened to change it.


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