I love being a nutritionist. I absolutely love helping people learn more about the food that they eat.
Food is the universal language that we all speak. Food is fuel, but food is also tied to our feelings and our emotions. How do you celebrate your birthday? With cake or a special dinner out. What do you eat when you’re feeling down? Ice cream or chocolate. Holidays with family and friends are often spent eating.
So when I tell people that I’m a nutritionist, some people avoid the conversation. Food can be a sensitive subject for them. They may have ideas about what healthy eating is, but it’s not always what they think. There are many common myths about healthy eating.
5 Common Myths about Healthy Eating
1 | The word “diet” means going on a diet
When I work with clients, we talk a lot about diet. How do they eat? What foods do they choose? The conversation then moves into how they can improve their diet to improve their health. This comes with discussing things like blood sugar balancing foods, macronutrients, micronutrients, fibre, and more. This does NOT mean putting them on a diet.
Eating healthy, whole foods does not equal dieting. We’re not talking about temporary choices in order to lose weight or reach a particular short-term goal. We’re talking about adopting long-term habits, i.e. a lifestyle change, where we prioritize whole foods filled with nutrients. The ultimate goal is long-term and is rooted in having great health for years to come.
2 | Healthy eating means restriction
Yes I’m a nutritionist. Yes I eat sugar, and cake, and chocolate, and cookies. Adopting healthy eating habits doesn’t always mean restriction. Different people have different ideas of what’s healthy, but in my opinion healthy eating is about more than just fuelling your body with clean foods 24/7.
I always tell my clients it’s about moderation. Unless there’s a particular health condition involved, nourishing your soul is just as important as nourishing your physical body. And honestly, sometimes some chocolate is exactly what we need.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be about restriction. Instead, it should be about including as many nourishing foods as possible, and occasionally enjoying a treat when you intuitively want one.
3 | Eating healthy is too hard, or I don’t have time to eat healthy
This is one of my favourite myths about healthy eating, because it’s downright incorrect. How long does it take to make a frozen pizza? 20 minutes. How long does it take to make eggs, veggies and slice up an avocado? 10 minutes. It takes half the time, and contains significantly more nutrition.
Oftentimes this excuse is used to be dismissive. Saying you don’t have time to eat healthy, or saying that eating healthy is too hard, is an excuse. It’s another way of saying you’re not open to making healthy changes. If this is an excuse you use, it might be something to explore because it may be holding you back from truly feeling amazing.
4 | Eating healthy is expensive
I won’t pretend that eating healthy is always affordable – there are lots of “health foods” out there that are incredibly expensive – but those aren’t necessary. No one needs to buy kale chips and energy balls from the grocery store. You can make them at home for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re trying to eat healthy while you’re on a budget, consider buying the following foods that can save you some money:
- Dried beans and legumes: they are far more affordable than canned, you just need to plan in advance when you want to cook them. Dried beans can sometimes cost $2-5 per bag and you get TONS in return.
- Frozen fruits & vegetables: Vegetables and fruits can be costly when they’re out of season. If you live Canada, you can see the price of strawberries go from $2 in-season to $5+ outside of the summer months. Frozen produce is often flash-frozen at peak ripeness, so the nutritional value is still there.
- Eggs make a great source of protein: One of the most affordable sources of protein, eggs are a fantastic choice. Plus they’re versatile – think quiches, frittatas, scrambled eggs, omelettes, and more!
- Whole grains: Buying whole grains in their whole form can be very affordable. Grains like brown rice, rolled or steel cut oats, quinoa and more. Many of these healthy grains are highly nutritious while being budget-conscious.
There are so many ways you can save money while still eating healthy. Remember – healthy eating does not have to be expensive!
5 | Eating healthy is only about losing weight
Another common myth about eating healthy. Some people begin focusing on food as a way to lose weight, but this shouldn’t be the main reason. Choosing to eat nutritious and whole foods should be about living your best life and feeling amazing. Sometimes people get caught up in the idea that weight loss will bring these feelings of happiness, but it’s not always that easy.
We can all create a goal of eating healthy, and it doesn’t have to mean weight loss for all of us. For me, eating healthy is about fuelling my body with energy, optimizing brain health, and helping me balance my hormones. By focusing on these things, I feel fantastic. Weight loss isn’t even a part of the equation.
Let go of the myths about healthy eating
Many of these myths are still held in the general population. Which of these myths have you believed? I have to be honest, when I was younger, I believed all of them.
But they’re not true.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, make a conscious decision to choose a new nutritious food to try. Not because you feel like you have to, but because you want to feel incredible. No matter what your budget, you deserve to be happy and healthy.
Being open to adopting some healthy eating habits can make all the difference and is absolutely worth it. It’s not a diet, it’s not restriction, and it’s not about weight loss. It’s about happiness, having energy for the day, and feeling amazing in your body.