Do you know that I have been to three different OBGYN doctors during my pregnancies in 3 different major cities (one in Japan) and not one has asked me about my diet? Not one has given me guidance on what to eat. I have also had 4 pediatricians in Tokyo, Singapore, New York City, and New Jersey and not one has asked me what I feed my children. The question has been, “are they drinking enough…about x amount of milk?” That’s it!! We have to do the asking.
I consider myself pretty healthy and educated in basic healthy eating habits for my family; I read a lot on what to buy, I watch the news…but yet, once in while I fall into a marketing trap! I realize that some people trust their local supermarkets and brands that label things as “healthy” or “low-sugar!” (heck, I trust EVERYTHING Whole Foods says). Knowledgeable friends help out and suggest different choices and articles. I recently came across an article on The Washington Post which is making the rounds right now, “5 So-Called Health Foods You Should Avoid”. People do their best in trying to eat right, some things are not so obvious and we shouldn’t be so trusting. In a nutshell, here is what Katherine Tallmadge writes:
1. Don’t avoid regular peanut butter Buying reduced-fat peanut butter takes away the best part of the nut…the oil. A lot of things labeled “reduced-fat” have more calories and more sugar (!). The ingredients on the back or your peanut butter jar should only say, “peanuts and salt”.
2. Avoid Enhanced Water Let’s just drink regular water please. Water with vitamins may or may not be good for you. Everyone’s body and how much of an “enhancement” one needs might not be good for another.
3. Tsk tsk on Energy Bars They are fillers and “calorie bombs”. We should snack on fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt…
4. Whole Grain instead of Multi-Grain I didn’t know this! “Be sure a whole grain, such as whole wheat, whole oats or brown rice, is the first and preferably the only grain in the ingredient list.” This is great to know when shopping for healthy packaged snacks for kids. I thought if it said multi-grain we were good to go but apparently not. Avoid “enriched wheat flour”.
5. Avoid the “baked”, “low-fat” or “gluten-free” labels People really want to believe this marketing strategy when buying a bag of chips. Once again we have to read labels. 100 percent whole grain or chips fried in a healthy olive or canola oils are better options.
It’s so hard to keep track of all the changes in dietary recommendations! We should ask or doctors more questions, we should read all labels, and try to eat the best fresh and whole foods we can. Do you have any other recommendations to share?