As registered dietitians, we’re often asked if popular nutrition advice is worth following. While many times there is truth to a given recommendation, it’s often oversimplified and forces people to erroneously believe they need to avoid many foods that provide health benefits or adopt certain eating habits that aren’t practical. Here are four pieces of nutrition advice that you’ve heard but should ignore.
Advice You Should Ignore: Stay away from frozen foods.
Why You Shouldn’t Listen: While it’s a good idea to avoid highly refined and processed foods from the freezer aisle—things like frozen hot pockets, pizzas, fried onion rings and toaster strudels—snubbing frozen foods isn’t always warranted, especially when it comes to produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables may actually have more nutrients than fresh ones because they’re picked and frozen with the nutrients intact. Fresh produce loses nutrients as it’s exposed to light, heat and air, which is inevitable during transport. So unless you’re living on a farm and eating your produce as you pick it, there’s a good chance frozen fruits and veggies contain more nutrients then fresh.
Try this nutrient packed recipe using frozen blueberries: Blueberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie
Advice You Should Ignore: Only eat organic produce.
Why You Shouldn’t Listen: Not only is eating only organic foods cost prohibitive, it discourages you from eating the one thing everyone needs to eat more of for better health—veggies! Research has shown that there is a direct relationship between eating more produce and reducing your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Veggies flood the body with antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and this is true regardless of whether or not the produce is organic.
Include this side dish at your next meal: Roasted Detoxifying Veggies
Advice You Should Ignore: Eat breakfast immediately when you wake up.
Why You Shouldn’t Listen: If you wake up at 5am and eat breakfast right away because you think it will help you lose weight, you’ll probably be hungry by 9 am, and you’ll end up snacking before your next meal. Instead, if you wake up early, first hydrate with a large cup of hot water and lemon and give yourself some time before you eat breakfast. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to allow yourself to get too hungry, as this would also result in overeating. The one exception may be if you’re working out immediately upon waking and feel you need something light (such as half an apple and a teaspoon of peanut butter) in your stomach to get through your workout.
Try one of these satisfying breakfasts to keep you satisfied when you’re ready to eat:
Advice You Should Ignore: Steer clear of white foods.
Why You Shouldn’t Listen: While it’s a good idea to replace white flour and other refined grains with whole grains, not all white foods are off limits. In fact, some of the most nutritious foods are white: cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage, fennel, beans, onions, garlic, mushrooms, kohlrabi, parsnips, turnips, tofu and white corn. Cauliflower makes the perfect swap for refined grains as it slashes the calories, while packing fiber, vitamin C and cancer-fighting nutrients. White beans like garbanzos and cannellini beans pack protein, fiber and antioxidants. Turnips and mushrooms are loaded with fiber, potassium and vitamin C. And garlic and onions boost immunity, help to lower cholesterol and fight cancer. Include these white foods in your diet and you’ll boost your health.
Try these healthy white foods recipes: