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Avoid common mistakes that can spoil your plans for eating right.

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    Avoid common mistakes that can spoil your plans for eating right.

    Here are some of the most common mistakes that can lead to an unhealthy diet:

    1. Skipping breakfast to save calories for later in the day
    Studies show that breakfast skippers actually have more difficulty controlling their weight because they overeat at the next meal. Eating breakfast revs up your metabolism and replenishes your body's fuel source. The typical coffee shop muffin can deliver up to 19 grams of fat and 400

    2. Not planning your meals in advance
    If you come home from work tired and hungry to an empty fridge, chances are you'll order in. Instead, plan your meals in advance, grocery shop once a week, and batch cook on the weekend. You'll eat healthier - and save time and money!

    3. Grabbing the coffee shop muffin for a quick breakfast
    Here's the bad news: the typical coffee shop muffin can deliver up to 19 grams of fat and 400 calories! Even a glazed donut has less. If you're on the go, order a low-fat bran muffin with fruit. You'll get less than 3 grams of fat and up to 5 grams of fibre. And don't forget the latte for a calcium boost.

    4. Ordering a salad at lunch instead of a sandwich
    Surely that roast beef sandwich is more fattening than the chef's salad right? Not necessarily! Tossed greens may sound virtuous, but some salad entrees pack up to 10 teaspoons of fat because of the oil used in the dressing. A typical roast beef sandwich (with mustard, not mayo) delivers less than two. If you'd rather have salad, order the dressing on the side and don't use it all.

    5. Eating carb-free meals to stay slim
    Low-carb diets are all the rage, and it's true that too many carbohydrates can make you fat. But too much fat and too much protein can also pack on the pounds. Whole-grain starchy foods, legumes, fruit and vegetables are low-glycemic carbohydrate foods that keep you feeling full and energetic longer. So give up those high glycemic -- white -- refined carbohydrate foods such as cakes and pastries instead.

    6. Using margarine instead of butter to ward off heart disease
    Sure, margarine is made from vegetable oil. But if it's hydrogenated vegetable oil, it is actually worse for your heart than animal fat. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fatty acids that raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your HDL (good) cholesterol. You're much better off using a little bit of butter than a hydrogenated margarine. And contrary to popular belief, margarine does not have fewer calories than butter.

    7. Munching on fat-free snacks in an effort to lose weight
    True, those pretzels are healthier than deep-fried potato chips. But calorie-wise, many low-fat products are about the same as their full-fat counterparts. Consider that a one-ounce (28 g) serving of pretzels weighs in at 110 calories, about the same as a similar serving of chips. What's more, research shows that we actually eat larger portions of foods that are labelled low fat. The bottom line calories count!

    8. Avoiding between-meal snacks for fear of weight gain
    Instead of devouring three big meals, successful dieters eat more often. Spreading out your food keeps your stomach always partly full and prevents overeating at any one time. Healthy snacks include yogurt, fruit, low-fat lattes, veggies and hummus, or nuts and dried fruit.

    9. Eating a bowl of bran flakes to get your daily fibre fix
    This is a good start, but you're only partway there. One serving typically gives you about 5 grams of fibre - only 20 per cent of a woman's daily requirement (25 g) and 10 per cent of a man's (38 g). You must still add high-fibre foods like beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruit to your remaining meals and snacks. If you want to make a big dent in your fibre intake at breakfast, reach for a cereal that provides at least 10 grams of fibre per serving.

    10. Being a slave to the study du jour?
    Oat bran is out, the next day it's back. Nutrition flip-flops can exhaust even the most conscientious of eaters. Good science unfolds slowly and for every positive study, there is usually a negative study. The key is not to react to every single news report. Stick to the tried and true a low-fat diet with plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruit has decades of research to support its health benefits.

    Leslie Beck is a registered dietitian and author of Leslie Beck's 10 Steps to Healthy Eating (Viking Canada, 2002).


    I found it very informational. I must admit I often skip breakfast and then end up having a huge lunch. Part of the problem is that I can't seem to have breakfast early. Plus, I can never decide what to eat. I guess I'll soon have to find something interesting to eat that I can get hooked on for a while.

    Although brown bread and other brown stuff doesn't taste bad, but it has no taste. Although it's not healthy to eat white bread/pita I stll eat it because it has a good taste to it.

    Not to forget, I hardly and barely have any vegetables and fruits.

    To sum it up, I have a terrible diet.

    Ohh goody I have bran flakes and I stay away from refined I need to cut down on the mayo I suppose...
    One of the greatest diseases is to be Nobody to Anybody