A healthy diet is not a fad. Healthy food is good for us. Can you honestly say that you don’t know what is good for you and what is not? You wouldn’t feel so guilty about tiny indiscretions if you didn’t know better in the first place. Seniors are just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to making poor dietary choices. We learned about food groups in the first grade so pleading ignorance really isn’t a very good excuse. Would your excuses stand up in a nutrition court?
Author Rebekah Denn wrote an article for the June/July 2012 AARP magazine (www.aarp.org/magazine) about eating healthy for less. The article pretty much shoots down the classic excuse that we can’t afford to eat healthy organic foods. The author also points out that we spend more on drugs, doctor’s visits, lattes and fireworks than we do on food. When did our priorities get so messed up? The author suggested reading books like “Wildly Affordable Organic” by Linda Watson. Much of the information cited is common sense but our fascination with “how-to” books is not a bad place to start.
What are some other “reasons” that we have embraced for not being mindful about what we eat? I know one. It costs too much. The price of produce is shocking. I agree, it bothers me that I can only afford to buy one or two tomatoes at a time and that apples are sold individually instead of in 2-5 lb bags. But at the same time I watch my daughter spend $5 for a triple shot, rice milk latte every morning. So, who is right? Would you rather spend your money on healthy food items or splurge on daily or twice daily visits to an Espresso Cart? Keep in mind that cereal with milk and fresh fruit will cost less than a donut or king sized muffin from a drive through. You aren’t alone. The thing that makes produce so expensive is that you buy it, bring it home, and then lose it to spoilage because you don’t use it up fast enough. We all resist spending money on healthy foods, but don’t say it isn’t that you can’t afford it.
The thing that scares me off is figuring out how I can possibly eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every single day. That sounds like an awful lot, but a serving size may be only a ¼ to ½ a cup. Now is time to do some research and learn how to be creative. Self help cook book authors will give you all kinds of sneaky ways to add vegetables and fruits to everyday cooking. Try a few.
We have become accustomed to going through a drive through or grabbing a bagel as we rush out the door because we feel we don’t have time to prepare and eat a real meal. That excuse may have worked when you were working, but now that you are older and know better it really doesn’t cut it. You probably waste more time watching television than you spend in the kitchen cooking. Maybe we should investigate getting back to basics and learn how to cook from scratch again.
Healthy food doesn’t taste good. Again, time to be creative and do some culinary experimentation. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t reward yourself from time to time. You don’t have to deny your sweet tooth, just be mindful of portion sizes. Fast food does have it place. Sometimes you just run out of time and don’t have the energy to go home and start cooking. You don’t have to give up fast food altogether but use common sense. Not all fast food is unhealthy. You don’t always have to get the value meals or the meal deals. Next time just buy the entry and add sides and a salad at home. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that everything has to come from your garden or be made from scratch.
A vitamin pill can not replace healthy food items. No pill can make up or undo the sins of a casual eating. A supplement is okay but the majority of your vitamins and minerals should come from the food you eat. So, what do you think? What excuses do you use? No time? Limited income? You don’t like to cook? What do you do to make cooking a part of your healthy lifestyle?