Nutrition News: Why We Eat What We Do

Why do we choose to eat the foods we eat? Here are three top reasons, according to a recent article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association—the largest group of nutrition professionals in the world:

1. Taste is still considered the number one factor that affects our food choices. We are born with an innate taste for sweet, for example. When we allow ourselves frequent access to sweet foods, we literally feed this natural desire. Yet if we totally try to avoid sweet foods, our effort can backfire into an all-out binge.

2. Convenience is the reason that almost half the average American family’s food budget is now spent on food away from home.

3. Cost determines many of the food choices we make. More healthful foods, some say, just cost too much.

How do you fit these natural desires and real concerns into healthful eating patterns?

· Balance the desire for sweets and other high calorie foods with a conscious effort to eat these foods less often and in smaller portions.

· Seek healthful foods that are also convenient. Salad bars, fresh and dried fruit, nuts and sandwiches made with whole grains can easily fit into even the busiest lifestyle.

· Compare the cost (and health benefit) of a bag of baby carrots to a bag of chips. Order a smaller pizza and a larger salad to save money and calories and keep your diabetes in better control.

We always have choices. If we pay now for better nutrition, perhaps we won’t have to pay later for poor health.