Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Make NO Choice the Healthy Choice?

There is a popular phrase in nutrition education circles:  Make The Healthy Choice The Easy Choice.  But sometimes having too many choices can be the cause of dietary indecision, dietary indiscretion or dietary information overload.  In terms of diet, this can lead to a "bad" choice.  In these cases, no choice might be the healthy choice.

Dietary Indecision:  When overwhelmed by choices, we sometimes choose to just say "forget it" and eat later, grabbing something on the run or skipping a meal entirely, setting us up for unhealthy choices.
Dietary Indiscretion:  With many choices for a meal, we sometimes pick and nibble and never quite get that balanced, healthy meal.

Dietary Information Overload:  When we know there are many choices, we think through the pros and cons of each (sweet, salty, filling, fattening, quick, connoisseur) and never make a decision, spending our precious meal time analyzing rather than eating.

The breakfast meal highlights the problem of too many choices.  When hurried, it may be better to have a plan or a limited list of go-to options to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Think about it the night before when your head is clear.  Make a menu, "If it's Tuesday, it must be oatmeal."  Some people eat the same thing for breakfast every day.  Not too exciting, but they never miss a breakfast - the most important meal of the day.  This plan can help you with portion control, calorie limits, and meal satisfaction.

This plan will help your children too as we know the many links between a healthy breakfast and academic performance, attention in school, attendance at school, and childhood obesity, to name just a few benefits of choosing the most important meal of the day.
If your breakfast is broken, try having no (or just a few) choices as the healthy choice!  Make it easy and set yourself up for success.

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