BIG Nutrition: Avoid These Nutrition Mistakes


BIG Nutrition: Avoid These Nutrition Mistakes

Although December if full of holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah) and holiday gatherings, there are plenty of days before the New Year to eat nutrient dense foods and avoid these common nutrition mistakes:

  • Believing that smoothies or shakes are the answer. They can be very helpful if you can’t stomach eating before/after a WOD/competition or have trouble eating enough. For most people, though, chewing is an important indicator for your body that you are eating. Drinking a smoothie does not elicit the same valuable body signals as chewing the foods. So, for people who can, choose food.
  • Avoiding all carbohydrates. Carbs fuel your muscles. Choose about three servings (~1/2 cup cooked) per day of whole grains or starchy vegetables as close to their natural state as possible—sweet potato, steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, farro, Quinoa, corn, peas, and more. The higher the fiber in the food, the better. It is less likely to have been processed, in other words, stripped of its nutrients. Fruits and vegetables also offer awesome carbs with amazing nutrients with the goal of at least 5+ servings per day.
  • Choosing food that is labeled ‘low-fat or light.’ These foods are typically filled with tons of sugar which is not satiating like fat and is full of…..sugar.
  • Missing the probiotic in your yogurt. While they typically do contain ‘active cultures,’ it does not hurt to double check for this on containers of yogurt. Also, heating the product kills the active cultures (this also goes for any fermented product). Don’t worry if the cultures get frozen; this is fine. They are dormant in cold temps, but become active when they have thawed (in the refrigerator or in you!).
  • Drinking nut milk and thinking it offers what cow’s milk has. Unlike cow’s milk, nut milks are low in protein (unless specifically added), rarely contain Vitamin D, and are usually low in calcium; the exception is almond milk which does have calcium.
  • Thinking that food has to be organic, free-range, grass-fed etc. to be healthy. If you can afford or choose to eat organic, free-range, and grass-fed foods, then go for it! But most research shows that it is not eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits (think rainbow) with whole grains/starchy vegetables, lean meats, and nuts that is associated with poorer health. Thoroughly washing non-organic vegetables and fruits (in 3 exchanges of water) is recommended and does reduce the pesticides that are on non-organic vegetables and fruits.
  • Adding flax seeds to your intake. Flax seeds need to be ground to receive the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in them. Unfortunately, chewing them is not sufficient. Buy them ground or grind them in a coffee or spice grinder.
  • All preservatives are toxic. All preservatives are not toxic or created equal. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is vocal about the additives issue, and they have a ranking list (safe, caution, cut back, etc.) that you may find helpful.

Now you are ready to either take your nutrient dense eating to the next level, or help a health conscious friend, avoid these nutrition mistakes!

Drum Roll Please!

The winner of the Nutrition Challenge will be announced in the December Newsletter. One member will also receive honorable mention for efforts during the challenge!

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Ready to fuel your life? Contact me at [email protected]