August 20, 2014
Top 5 Nutrition Mistakes

If you were to poll 10 Dietitians you may get 10 different answers to the question: "What top 5 mistakes do you think people commonly make with their food plan?" But here are the top 5 I come across often, and how I address them:


1. I ate something I shouldn't have, but felt too guilty to track it

An Adjustment: It's OK if every day isn't perfect. If I make it a priority to just meal track everything honestly, I can relieve some of the pressure and guilt while maintaining my calorie (or other nutrient) intake in my overall goal range

Why this matters: This strategy is helpful for building more sustainable practices with meal tracking, flexibility and independence with making certain food choices in certain situations, but all while being honest with bigger-picture goals

2. I get enough protein with lentils and milk

Correction: Lentils/beans and milk can be very healthy foods, no doubt about it, but they are carbohydrates -not proteins-

What to do about it: Stick with your 'rule of thirds' and keep 1/3 of your plate carb (can be a mix of lentils and beans, grains, starchy veggies, fruits or milk) then ensure you have at least 1/3 of your plate filled with non-starchy veggies (any except peas, corn, potatoes and winter squash.) If you are vegetarian or vegan, use these foods to boost your total protein intake but follow up with a Registered Dietitian to make sure you've got the right balance

3. I should avoid fats, like nuts

An improvement: I should include nuts, seeds, avocado, olives or oils in my meal plan but portion them out carefully

Why this matters: Fats are the most calorically-dense, meaning small portions can add up to big calories 

4. If I don't eat my next meal I'll lose weight

Improved: I'll eat smaller, more frequent meals high in volume, fiber, lean protein and whole carbohydrates (vs. refined)

Why: I will keep my hunger, satiety and energy in check. When these things are in check I am more likely to make balanced choices for weight loss

5. I buy gluten-free so it's healthy  

Improved: I label read all processed grain foods

Why this matters: Product labels can be misleading. Check if they are whole grain (vs. refined), high in fiber (at least 2-3g per 100 calories) and low in sugar (max 3g per 100 calories, max 9g for cereals) to get the most healthy overall choices


Nutrition myths and misconceptions are certainly abundant, but hopefully at least 1 of the mistakes above taught you something about how to improve your health through food.

If you have a nutrition question that you want de-bunked, share it with us! And as always, reach out to your Registered Dietitian for more specific guidance given your health concerns and goals.

Written by Erika Brown

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