You know what you should be eating because you’ve heard most diet advice before. But you just can’t quite figure out how to apply that diet advice to make it part of your daily eating routine. Here are some tips to help you put your nutrition knowledge into action.
For those of us in the US, mid-April means one thing—it’s tax time. Many dread it and put it off to the last minute. That’s in large part because completing your own tax return is difficult, complicated and just so darned…well, taxing. But as tough as it may be, it’s apparently not nearly as hard as figuring out how to eat well. In a recent online survey1 of more than 1,000 Americans, 52% said that it was harder to figure out “what you should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier” than it is to figure out “how to do your own taxes.”
Choosing a healthy diet just shouldn’t be that hard. And it’s not for lack of knowledge. In general, people seem to know what they should be doing. In the same survey, most people said they were trying to limit their intake of salt, fat and sugar and were trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. But when you look at what people say they’re trying to do and what they’re actually doing, there’s a bit of a disconnect. We may be able to “talk the talk,” but we don’t seem to be “walking the walk.” The majority of Americans don’t get the recommended number of fruits and veggies every day. Intake of added fats and sugars is at an all-time high, and 44% of Americans eat fast food at least once a week.
When people say it’s hard to figure out what to eat, the problem isn’t really that they don’t know what to do. It’s more that they just don’t know how. Of course, you also have to want to do it, too. But the bottom line is this: all the knowledge in the world isn’t going to do you much good if you can’t figure out how to put it into practice.
1International Food Information Council Foundation, “2012 Food and Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Safety, Nutrition and Health.”