Eating mistakes: you limit your calorie intake, avoid fizzy drinks, and are the last person to reach for the biscuits in those tempting office meetings. So why aren’t you seeing results on the scales? Make sure you’re not making these healthy eating mistakes:
1. You’re eating ‘diet’ foods. Those low-calorie microwave meals, shakes and bars may be convenient, but they’re not helping you lose weight and they’re lacking in nutrients. Eat healthy portions of fresh, organic, seasonal food to stay fuller for longer. For a quick snack, try a portion of Greek yoghurt with some juicy strawberries, or whip up a quick omelette in low-fat oil instead of a fake shop-bought lunch.
2. You’re going overboard on healthy fats. Avocados, nuts, extra virgin olive oil… there’s no denying these monounsaturated fats are incredibly good for your heart. But if you’re going in large with your portion sizes - lashings of oil over your fish dinner, the whole avocado on one salad, an entire bag of nuts in one sitting - you may be reaching a point where these incredible foods are making you gain fat.
3. Your coffee is a calorific landmine. For many people, the day doesn’t begin without a coffee fix. That jolt of caffeine isn’t a bad thing - a cup in the morning has been shown to pack a whole range of health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer. But if you’re heading to your local cafe and ordering an aromatic takeout with additional syrups, honey, cream and whole milk - you may be in for a shock when it comes to totting up your calorie totals.
4. You always go for the salad. Nothing wrong with picking out the salad, right? Contrary to popular belief, a ‘guilt-free’ salad may not be your best option after all. Choose one too light and you risk not consuming enough calories to satiate your hunger hormones. On the other side of the scale, salads are often plumped up with an extra portion of fat and calories: creamy dressings, croutons, blue cheese, candied walnuts and oily antipasti can all catch you out.
5. You don’t plan ahead. Starving the moment you get through the door from work or the gym? You’re not the only one. But if you’ve nothing prepared to eat, you’re not picking the best time to decide what’s for dinner. Your brain is wired to crave high-calorie food when you’re hungry, so you might be more tempted to go for that pizza (if you haven’t raided the biscuit tin for a pre-dinner snack already).
6. You’re not eating enough carbs post-workout. We’re told carbs are bad for us. It’s partially true, but only if you eat the wrong sorts. If you’ve sweated hard at a gym class, pedalled until it hurts, or pushed yourself to run that extra mile, you need to refuel properly. Your muscles need glycogen to repair and grow stronger, which you can get from ‘good’ carbs like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.