2. Having unrealistic expectations
Setting the goal to lose 5kg in a week or to remove all processed foods from your diet may be setting yourself up for failure. When it comes to your health, patience is key and setting realistic goals is vital to success.
For dietary changes to be sustainable, they need to fit in with your lifestyle. If you’re not sure what a realistic goal is, speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
3. Banning your favourite foods
You might be surprised to hear it from dietitians, but unhealthy foods can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. That’s right: all foods can fit. Nothing good ever comes from restriction, so there’s no point in telling yourself you can’t eat chocolate or pizza if you absolutely love it. Don’t take this as a green light to eat an entire block of chocolate everyday – it’s important to strike a balance. If the rest of your diet is made up of plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruit, wholegrains and lean protein, then enjoying a couple of squares of chocolate a few times a week is perfectly healthy.
4. Cutting carbohydrates
While reducing processed carbohydrates in your diet might help you meet your health goals, this doesn’t mean you should get rid of carbs altogether. Instead, focus on the quality of carbohydrates you’re eating. Choose wholegrain carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and quinoa which are rich in antioxidants as well as fibre, a nutrient which not only helps to keep you feeling full but also contributes to more stable blood sugars and can help manage cravings throughout the day.
5. Grazing all day long
Snacking is a healthy habit; however, you want to avoid grazing on food all day long. Although it might not seem like much – a mouthful here and there – when you tally all the little things eaten across the day it can equate to a whole lot more than you might realise. Over time, grazing can result in excessive daily energy intake and weight gain. It’s also good to give your body a break from digesting food all the time.
To avoid the habit of grazing all day long, it’s important to establish a regular mealtime routine. For most people, this will usually involve 3 main meals and 1-3 snacks per day.
6. Emotional eating
Do you eat when you feel bored, stressed, sad or angry? You’re not alone. There’s no denying food can make you feel good, whether it’s indulging in your favourite pasta dish or sharing a stack of fluffy pancakes with your friends over brunch. But if you frequently find yourself eating to cope with emotions you might be falling into the trap of emotional eating. It could be beneficial to check in with an Accredited Practising Dietitian who will be able to support you and help to improve your relationship with food.
7. Sipping on too many calories
When it comes to calorie counting, many of us tend to overlook what’s in our drinks. Just because you’re not chewing, doesn’t mean the calories don’t count. Sugary fruit juices, soft drinks, sweet smoothies and alcohol can contribute a decent number of calories to one’s diet. So, if you are looking to lose weight it’s something to be aware of.
8. Ditching dairy
Despite the latest research showing dairy foods play an important role in a balanced diet for our overall health, they receive a lot of negative attention in the media. It’s common for people to shy away from them because of misguided beliefs they’re harmful for our health and waistlines.
Nutritionally speaking, dairy is a healthy food we recommend including in your diet. Dairy foods provide a package of essential nutrients. Their unique composition of dairy minerals (like calcium and potassium), proteins and vitamins help support a healthy body and reduce several health risks.
Before removing dairy foods from your diet, you should seek the advice of an Accredited Practising Dietitian to ensure your diet remains nutritionally adequate.
9. Drinking too little water
This is one of the simplest diet mistakes to fix. Water is imperative for your health and staying hydrated can help to manage your appetite. Failing to drink enough water can really sabotage your healthy eating plans, so it’s important to make sure you’re drinking enough. Tips for increasing water intake include: