There is a lot of advice about healthy eating in healthcare journals, popular magazines, newspapers, the Internet and books. You can pick up any magazine and see at least one article about what foods to eat or not to eat, especially in connection with one weight-loss diet or another. If you’re thinking about a career as a dietician or nutrition counselor, this type of information isn’t just interesting; it's essential for career success and the health of your patients or clients.
While so many articles encourage an overweight population to cut calories or avoid certain foods, the U.S. economy depends on people eating more, and more of the processed foods that are so plentiful, easy to produce and with a long shelf life. One such article in the Business Insider, “5 Healthy Foods That Aren’t Actually Healthy,” says that in order to keep the economy humming, everyone needs to eat about 3,900 calories of the food produced. That’s a lot of extra calories. No wonder there is an obesity epidemic.
Food companies churn out lots of new products each year, many targeting busy people that don’t have the time or desire to cook from scratch three times a day like families did in the 50’s and 60’s. A food product labeled “healthy” has a better chance of being embraced by a nation that is obsessed with weight and trying any new trick or “secret” to lose weight and get fit. Katherine Talmadge, a registered dietician and author, listed five foods to avoid that are considered “healthy” by today’s standards.
Reduced-fat peanut butter has the same amount of calories as regular peanut butter, and more sugar. What’s more, the fat removed from the peanut butter is the healthiest part! Eat the real thing, or grab some peanuts instead. Other products to avoid are enhanced waters which usually contain sugar and maybe a little fruit juice. Some contain harmful stimulants as well. The best thing? Plain old tap water, the kind with the fluoride in it, which helps prevent cavities. Instead of vitamin-enhance water, take a drink of the real thing with your daily vitamin.
Energy bars have sugar, fillers and are loaded with extra calories. Pick up a piece of fruit, some raw vegetables or a bit of protein instead for some real energy. Better yet, take an afternoon nap to recharge your batteries. Pass up “multigrain” for whole grain crackers and breads. Better yet, take them in raw form, like steel cut oatmeal or brown or wild rice. Instead of a bowl of packaged cereal with added sugars, salt and a preservatives (why do you think they last so long), the article suggests an egg for breakfast. Pure protein.
The last foods to avoid are baked chips or snacks. Most are made of refined grains or starch, with added salt, sugar and other ingredients. Eating a kettle chip (ingredients listed as potatoes, oil and salt) may not give much nutrition, but at least its real food.
Healthcare professionals who are out of shape, overweight, short of breath, or tired and run down aren’t very good representatives of the profession. Successful healthcare providers build relationships with their patients and clients built on trust and credibility. Anyone who thinks about a career in healthcare should pay attention to their own nutrition to be sure it gives them energy, overall health and appearance. It’s difficult to convince a patient or staff to cut out fatty or salty snacks when you have to have chips or a greasy hamburger and fries for lunch. Avoiding unhealthy foods is good for your energy, health and appearance and ultimately your career.
Photo Source: Freedigitalphotos.net