In honor of National Nutrition Month, we asked four experts — who've helped everyone from celebs to everyday women get their diets back on track — to tell us the mistakes they see their clients make over and over when it comes to healthy eating. Read on for the top four mistakes women make when it comes to nutrition, as well as our tips to be sure you're not making these same choices!
- Only counting calories: When it comes to losing weight, it can be easy to fall in a quality vs. quantity trap — focusing on calorie counting instead of the whole picture. "Many [diet] programs focus on what I call the 'surface' evaluations of foods — how many calories, grams of carbs, protein, etc. a food has," says Kimberly Snyder, a celebrity nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution. "Too many women feel like they have to micromanage and count everything they eat in order to look their best, [but] that's simply not true," she advises.
Our tip: Instead of counting calories, focus on adding more whole foods, especially vegetables and fruits, into your diet. A green juice or smoothie in the morning is an excellent way to get a lot of nutrients into your diet in one go; check out Kimberly's recipe for her Glowing Green Smoothie to start.
- Not being consistent: Busy lives tend to mess up our carefully constructed healthy eating schedules, which doesn't do a body good. "I see many clients who eat erratically in terms of the timing, composition, and quality of their meals. Some days they may graze all day and on others go long stretches without eating, and some days may include kale salad and lentils, while others include frozen dinners and processed snack foods," says Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian and author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim.
Our tip: Before your busy life gets the better of you, block out time on the weekend to prepare lunches and shop for dinner so you won't go the takeout route on the weekdays.
- Not drinking enough water: Getting adequate hydration is a simple part of a nutrition plan that many women neglect the most, says registered dietitian Erin Palinski, a spokesperson for ZICO Coconut Water. "In order for your body to function properly, you need to be properly hydrated, otherwise you can run into issues like fatigue, headaches, even dizziness and more dangerous long-term issues like kidney and liver function, cholesterol problems, and muscle damage," Erin says. And not only that, but she's seen that "many people also mistake thirst for hunger and can overeat as a result."
Our tip: Make your water bottle a fixture on your desk at work. If you're tired of drinking plain water, add healthy, no-calorie additions like lemon slices, ginger, cucumber, or mint to your water to make it more appealing.
- Eating emotionally: "Women let nutrition go before anything else," says vegan nutritionist Melissa Costello, author of the Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook. "We have a lot on our plates — kids, works, husbands." A hectic schedule can upend any healthy eating goals, leading you to eat emotionally, "which usually always tends to be something that is not so healthy for us, like sugar, candy, or processed foods," warns Melissa.
Our tip: If you find yourself reaching for what's convenient or what you crave, make healthy snacks easily accessible — and more convenient than the junk food option. This snack center you can keep in your fridge includes healthy options like string cheese, already-washed fruit and veggies, and preportioned nuts and pretzels to make choosing a lower-calorie, more-nutritious snack easy.