So you ate sugary cereal for breakfast and chomped into a big fat burger for dinner. Relax! "No one needs to be a perfect eater all of the time," says Susan Moores, R.D., a spokeswoman in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the American Dietetic Association.
Berate yourself for not doing better and you could trigger emotional overeating. To ease your mind, SELF reveals everyday diet flubs you can stop stressing about.
YOUR WORRY: "I EAT EMPTY CARBS"
As long as half of your daily six servings of grain are the 100 percent whole kind, the rest can be any type you like. "Pasta, bread and cereals made with enriched white flour still offer important nutrients such as folic acid," says SELF contributing editor Janis Jibrin, R.D.
YOUR WORRY: "I LOVE RED MEAT!"
What's your beef? There's no need to eschew red meat, but choose lean cuts (flank, top round, sirloin) and keep portions to no more than 4 ounces per meal, three times a week. Besides being a good source of satiating protein, red meat is also rich in iron and zinc, two nutrients your body needs to maintain healthy cell production.
YOUR WORRY: "THE ONLY VEGGIE I LIKE IS CARROTS"
If you're eating carrots instead of fries, you're doing pretty well! You'll likely get bored with one food eventually, says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York. To expand your repertoire, try a veggie similarly sweet and crunchy (such as red bell pepper).
YOUR WORRY: "I DON'T READ LABELS"
Great, then you're not being led astray by the healthy, sugar-free claims, which can entice you to overeat, a study in the Journal of Marketing Research suggests. But also check the nutrition panel for partially hydrogenated oils. If you see them listed, leave the product (and its trans fats) on the shelf. Even imperfect eaters have limits!
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