Despite all the campaigns to promote fruit and vegetable intake – only a third of Americans eat two or more pieces of fruit per day.
25% don’t eat any vegetables at all.
Reasons for Not Eating Healthy Meals
Recent research from Mintel shows 5 reasons for not eating healthy:
- Time constraints
- Taste concerns
From industry site Food Navigator:
“A desire to eat a healthy diet may exist, but it does not translate fully to behavior modification…Consumers are not willing to trade convenience for health or other benefits. Products cannot be healthful at the expense of convenience or they will not be successful.”
Whole foods require preparation. Processed foods generally require you to open the packet and eat. Which do you reach for when your hungry and in a hurry?
Business is the enemy of healthy eating. This is followed closely by lack of knowledge (no surprise given the bewildering contradictions that constitutes dietary advice).
If you choose to eat healthy – you will need to address each of the above 5 reasons.
Advice for Eating Healthy
Once you get past these 5 hang ups you still need to know how to eat healthier, specifically what to eat; especially with all the confusion out there.
While everyone’s definition of healthy eating varies, the American Heart Association has some recommendations:
- 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day
- Two 3.5-ounce serving of fish each week
- Three 1-ounce servings of whole grains a day
- Less than 1,500 mg of sodium each day
- No more than 450 calories from soft drinks a week
- At least 4 servings of nuts and beans per week
- Less than 7% total dietary intake of saturate fat
- No more than 2 servings of processed meat each week
Other important factors for staying healthy include not smoking, monitoring body weight, getting regular exercise, managing blood pressure and cholesterol, and keeping tabs on blood sugar.