Women find many excuses not to eat healthy and many feel bad about it, but according to a new national poll in the June 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, the cost of healthful foods is the top deterrent that keeps 57 percent of women from doing so.
The report also highlights common healthy-eating obstacles and ways to overcome them, and outlines seven little tricks that can help folks eat better.
“Eating healthy can be challenging for many women, especially when we are surrounded by temptations,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, ShopSmart editor in chief. “It can be easy to make excuses, but if you know how to shop for the right foods, healthy eating can become a choice so easy that it becomes as automatic as reaching for the phone to order a pizza.”
Here are some additional findings from ShopSmart’s poll about women’s habits and feelings about healthy eating:
- The majority of women (88 percent) make excuses for not eating healthful foods, with cost (57 percent) being the most popular excuse.
- Social temptations (47 percent of women) are one of the biggest barriers women face in eating healthy. Forty-four percent claim they are more likely to eat poorly when they are around others compared with 36 percent who tend to eat worse when they are alone.
- Although half of women feel good about their eating habits, more than one-third feel they could be better and 7 percent feel really bad about their habits.
- Overall, women attempt to eat healthy. Most women (73 percent) are looking at nutrition labels and more than half of women have tried to buy more healthful foods in the past year.
- More than half of women have tried to get their family to eat healthier, however nearly one quarter have been unsuccessful in their attempts.
-Dinner (37 percent) and breakfast (36 percent) finish equally as the healthiest meal women eat in a day; only 24 percent feel lunch is the healthiest meal they eat.
- Cravings are another obstacle that can sideline healthy eating habits. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of women admit to having regular cravings of a particular food, with chocolate (43 percent) being the No. 1 culprit. There is hope, as 45 percent of women actually crave healthy foods including 39 percent who regularly crave fruits and 34 percent who regularly crave salad or vegetables.
Here are seven tried-and-true tricks that can result in better eating if you make them a habit, and that savvy grocers can leverage for in-store promotions:
1. Eat breakfast. Even if you’re not hungry, grab a combo of low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and a little protein. It can set a healthy tone for the day, fuel your mind and body, and prevent overeating at lunch.
2. Limit distractions. Turn off the TV, radio and computer, and focus on enjoying food when eating. It can also help you recognize feelings of fullness.
3. Eat slowly. Keep food in your mouth longer and chew it thoroughly. By slowing down, you'll give your brain more time to register that you've had enough.
4. Don’t drink calories. Save your calories for foods that will fill you up, and sip no-cal water, seltzer and tea.
5. Plan snacks. Don’t leave snacking to chance; when you’re hungry, you might not make healthy choices. Carry fruit, an energy bar or a small bag of homemade trail mix in your purse.
6. Practice portion control. To cut overeating, put food on a plate and keep serving dishes out of sight.
7. Brush teeth after eating. It signals that you’re really done.
The telephone survey of random households polled 1,016 female consumers to address their behaviors and attitudes regarding their eating habits. Interviewing took place March 1-11.
Launched in fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart is published 10 times year and features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists.