10 Hidden signs you’re not eating as healthy as you think

You avoid fast food and stay mindful of what goes into your mouth, but is your diet as healthy as it could be? Here are 10 hidden signs you’re not eating as healthy as you think.

Woman looking into fridge
1

You’re always starving

Sometimes you are legitimately hungry, but other times, you may feel hunger — even if you’ve eaten recently — because your diet is lacking some other essential component, whether it’s protein, carbohydrates, fat or fibre.

2

You rarely drink water

Hydration by sports drinks, sodas and teas doesn’t count towards your overall health. Your primary thirst-quencher should be good old-fashioned water, according to Canada’s Food Guide.

3

You don’t read food labels

Before you assume that marketing claims on a box (like “made with whole grains”) means it’s a healthy choice, read the nutrition label. For example, Canada’s Food Guide recommends that at least half of the grains you consume be whole grains, but they should also be low in fat, sugar and salt.

4

You visit the grocery store or market on occasion

If you’re not buying food very often, you probably have a lot of processed foods in your diet. According to Canada’s Food Guide, a healthy woman between the ages of 19 and 50 should eat between seven and eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating produce will require more food shopping — fresh food doesn’t last long!

Tip

“Natural is not a synonym for healthy! If you are looking for food that is in its simplest form, look for fruits and vegetables or anything in the produce section. Any food that requires a label probably has some added ingredients.” — Shari Portnoy, MPH, RD

5

You crave sugar

If you’ve eliminated other common reasons for sugar cravings, like boredom, fatigue and low blood sugar, it may be a sign that you’re not getting enough quality nutrients like protein, healthy fats and fibre in your diet.

6

You aren’t “regular”

Having fewer than three bowel movements a week likely means that you’re constipated, and a lack of fibre and water in your diet may be to blame. Up your fibre intake by adding foods like apples, raspberries, carrots, broccoli and whole grains.

7

You’re dieting

If you’re on a diet that restricts any essential food type, like carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, fat or protein, you’re not giving your body what it needs to function properly.

8

You consider calories alone

Instead of focusing only on calories, natural foods chef Amanda Skrip says that a better approach is to count nutrients.

9

All your greens are consumed in salad

Leafy green vegetables are a great source of fibre, vitamins C, A and K, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and beta-carotene, and having them in your diet in any form is a step in the right direction. However, if you only eat them raw, you may not be getting all the benefit you could. Lightly cooking greens like kale, spinach and collard, breaks down their compounds, allowing for easier absorption of all their valuable nutrients by your body, according to Leslie Beck, RD.

10

You rarely cook

Ordering vegetables at a restaurant is definitely a better choice than fried foods, but many restaurant chefs sautee their vegetables in oils and fats to make them extra tasty. If you’re really committed to eating healthy, cook at home a few nights a week, so you know exactly what’s in the food you eat.

More healthy eating tips

5 Quick ways to make any meal healthier
4 Ways to motivate yourself to eat healthy
Gluten intolerance versus celiac disease

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