Bad eating habits starting to pile up?

  • Tue Mar 20th, 2012 10:04pm

<b>YOUR HEALTH | </b>By Katie Murdoch Herald writer

It’s best to start with small steps to break bad eating habits.

Setting attainable goals will more likely result in success than unrealistic goals, said Nick Rose, nutrition educator for PCC Natural Markets.

Aiming to incorporate five green vegetables into one’s diet, for example, or striving to eat home-cooked meals during the weekday is more attainable than vowing to lose 30 pounds, Rose said.

This can call for undoing years of eating huge portions or reaching for unhealthy foods to cope with stress.

“We get stuck in our patterns, and if we have developed less-healthy patterns, such as eating out for dinner every night instead of having a home-cooked meal, then we don’t even think about them anymore, they just become habits,” Rose said.

Rose advises people to write their goals down as a daily reinforcement. Ticking accomplishments off of a checklist is an effective way to monitor progress toward each goal.

And in the process of forming healthier habits, start with drinking a cup of tea every day, Rose says. Green, black, oolong – any tea for that matter – contains flavonoids that lower the risk of heart disease, cancers and diabetes along with supporting bones and teeth, he said.

“A small, easily attainable goal like this one will help you see how easy it is to attain your other health and fitness goals,” he said.

People Rose has educated said their goals are to get into an exercise routine, reduce sugar in their diet and eat enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

They aren’t alone. Less than 20 percent of Americans eat the recommended five cups per day of vegetables and fruits, he said. Further, on average, Americans get 15 percent of their total grain intake from whole grains. They ought to strive for a minimum of half of their grains from whole grain sources like whole wheat, brown rice, oats and quinoa.

PCC offers free “Walk, Talk and Taste” tours at each location where nutrition educators offer tours of the store and teach consumers about nutrition, sustainability and cooking.

“The small size of these classes allows participants to ask questions by a trained nutrition professional, and also get general tips on healthy eating that anyone can benefit from,” Rose said.

The co-op offers free samples at its deli to let people experiment with new foods such as quinoa, beets and chard.

Further, the PCC Cooks program offers cooking classes for the beginner, gourmet and children.

‘Ask the Nutritionist’

As a nutrition educator for PCC Natural Markets, Nick Rose leads weekly “Walk, Talk and Taste” tours. Before coming to PCC, Rose taught nutrition courses at Bastyr University and his alma mater, Virginia Tech. Find his monthly blog and podcasts on nutrition topics at www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/nutrition/ask.