When people learn that I’m a dietitian, they usually assume a) that I am silently judging them in the grocery store and b) that I have squeaky-clean eating habits at all times. Oh, and c) that I am constantly eating kale.
For the record, I am NOT looking in your grocery cart (I’m too busy watching YOU look in MY cart and feeling a little self conscious). And I’m just like everyone else: My eating habits aren’t perfect. They’re a work in progress–and there are a few areas that need more work than others. Like these five:
1. I skip breakfast.
I strongly believe in the importance of breakfast for kids. They need fuel for their mornings, especially if they’re heading off to school. Studies also show that kids who eat breakfast take in higher amounts of important nutrients like fiber and calcium. But I’m a grown-up and I’m never, ever hungry when I first wake up. Sometimes I eat mid-morning. Sometimes I get busy, forget, and am famished come lunch.
2. I don’t drink enough fluids.
This is, by far, my worst overall health habit. I know that many of my minor complaints (like occasional headaches and fatigue) can be explained by my meager fluid intake. I’ve tried it all–lemon slices in water, water bottles that tally intake–but it’s still a struggle.
What helps: Putting a water pitcher and a glass right on my desk.
3. I eat lunch at my desk.
Like most moms, I burn the candle at both ends and try to cram too much into my days. One way I try to stretch time is by multi-tasking at lunch. I know that eating while distracted isn’t smart–not to mention the fact that I’ve dripped hummus into not one, but two computer keyboards. For real.
What helps: Eating lunch in the kitchen and treating myself to a show on Netflix while I eat. I’m still distracted, but at least my lunch can’t fall into my computer equipment.
4. I love to snack at night.
There’s just something about 9pm that says “salty” to me. Then “sweet”. Then “salty” again. Nighttime snacking is one of the first things I try to change when my jeans start to feel snug–but it’s one of the hardest changes for me to make.
What helps: Eating a piece of fruit and calling it quits.
5. I’ve got a mean sweet tooth.
I’ve had a lifelong affair with all things sweet. Thankfully my tolerance and taste for hyper-sweet foods like candy have all but disappeared (read My Number One Trick For Eating Right). But I still love to bake (and eat) dessert.
What helps: Since Easter, I’ve skipped sweets throughout the week and only eat dessert on the weekends. So far it’s been much easier than I thought it would be.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. I have a lot of habits I’m very satisfied with too. I love fresh fruit of all kinds, I never developed a taste for fast food or soda, I could eat piles of roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and I actually crave salads, eating them out of a mixing bowl most days.
So what are YOUR worst (and best!) eating habits? And if you have any advice for me on my five, I’d love to hear it!