baked potatoesSo you’re trying to eat more healthfully. Good for you. Nutrient dense foods help curb hunger so you reach for junk food less often. These foods also help rid the body of free radicals and other waste products, promoting better health. With so many choices and so much advice it can be tough to tell if you’re on the right track.  Here are some of the most common healthy eating mistakes to avoid.

Not reading food labels

Many “healthy” foods contain vast amounts of sugar and salt that is not so healthy after all. For example, yogurt offers the benefit of protein and calcium. Unfortunately, many brands are also loaded with sugar. Those with fruit may also contain artificial ingredients and chemicals that are anything but healthy. Avoid this trap by reading the label and choosing plain yogurt to which you add your own fruit.

Choosing convenience foods

Frozen meals, packaged foods and take out are all great time savers. There is a price for that convenience. Most often that price is paid with more calories and sodium than you would take in with foods prepared at home. Instead spend an afternoon preparing foods you can freeze so they are ready when you are. Good ideas include chicken breasts and fish, brown rice, soups, and roasted vegetables.

Adding too much fat

Baked potatoes and salads are excellent healthy eating choices. The problem is with the usual additions. Butter, sour cream, creamy dressing, cheese and the like make even the best choices a lot less virtuous. Try hummus as a spread for sandwiches or a dip for vegetables. You can also dress your salad with oil and vinegar or lemon. Baked potatoes with plain Greek yogurt are a healthy alternative to sour cream.

Depriving yourself

Healthy eating is not an extreme sport. You can make choices that support your health and fitness goals without subjecting yourself to torture. That means you don’t have to skip meals or swear you will never eat another potato chip. Bodies need regular meals to be their best and you can enjoy the foods you love in moderation.

Thinking you can’t really enjoy healthy eating

Our taste buds adjust as our eating habits do. Embrace change by exploring new recipes to find things you love. Make an old favorite a new way. Involve others in your eating adventures (without being overbearing). Healthy eating is for everyone.