Simple Eating Tips (by Michael Pollan)

March 24, 2009

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” stated food author, Michael Pollan at a lecture given to CDC scientists last week. Together, these seven simple words summarize healthy eating…meaning choose mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains; include some fish, meat, chicken, and dairy; but skip the processed foods and keep portions small. As a dietitian, getting the message across about healthy eating in a very succinct way that everyone can understand is key.

Pollan suggests here’s how to do it:

1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food– Go- gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Non-dairy creamer?

2. Watch out for food products bearing health claims– Often, they are heavily processed and have no real health benefit.  Also, keep in mind, apples are one of the most healthful foods, yet there are no health claims written on the outside of their skin!

ingredients3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than five in number, or that contain high fructose corn syrup.- Usually indicates highly processed and low nutrient foods.

4. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store, and don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. Fresh foods tend to be on the perimeter of the store, while processed and less nutritional foods are in the middle aisles and in convenient stores.

5. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. A plant based diet is generally lower in calories and fat and less “energy dense”.

6. Eat more like the French, Japanese, Italians, or Greeks. “People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than we are”, Pollan says. He suggests, “Pay attention to how a culture eats, as well as to what it eats.” For example, In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full.

7. Cook. And if you can, plant a garden. Food you grow and prepare yourself is generally much healthier than not.

garden1

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