Excuses, excuses. We all make ‘em when it comes to eating healthy. But when you think about it, there’s really no reason to scarf down all that “bad for you” food. Here we shoot down some common excuses for putting away those extra calories.
- Because it’s a holiday (or the weekend … or date night). Life has lots of special occasions (and weekends!) Indulging a little on the holidays won’t hurt — but planning ahead will make for merry meals that are healthy too. For example, you can add some fa-la-la to your favorite holiday cookies by using oatmeal, dried fruits and nuts as prime ingredients.
- I’m down in the dumps! You blew a work deadline, had a flat tire or left your wallet at the grocery store. Bigger stresses, like unemployment or caring for a sick relative, can also cause you to overeat — even when you’re not hungry. Try taking a brisk walk and reaching for a healthy snack. When you have a minute to slow down, read our tips to control your stress.
- I already blew it with that meatball sub. Pass the potato chips please! Not so fast. Nobody’s perfect. Focus on what you can do next, not on what you did last. You can also try planning ahead to eat well on the run. Hint: Portable snacks like air-popped popcorn can save you from the deli dive.
- I hate vegetables. Such a harsh statement! You may not have a love affair with lima beans, but there are lots of ways to eat more fruits and vegetables. Try adding peas to your favorite pasta and sprinkling sliced veggies on homemade pizza. There are lots of ways to put produce on your plate.
- I don't have anything to worry about — I've always been healthy. Congratulations! But if you’re like most Americans, you may think you’re in better shape than you are. With Life’s Simple 7®, My Life Check® Assessment you can learn the state of your heart and what you can do to improve it.
- Someone brought donuts to the office. It’s OK to pass on the pastries! Next time bring a fresh fruit tray and encourage your weekly catch-up chat with your boss to be a walking meeting. (Find out if you can wear sneakers to work!) You can even find ways to get exercise at work! Try these tips to get active at work, home or play.
- No time for salad. You can cut a cucumber and slice some strawberries in the time it takes to call your neighborhood pizza joint and search for that coupon. Salad is a great make-ahead meal, and the varieties are endless. Read on for some ideas on making a heart-healthy salad. Avoid heavy dressings with one of our dressing recipes you can make yourself. You’ll save calories — and money — by making it yourself.
- My team lost! … My team won! Depending on what happens in the big game, you may want to celebrate — or drown your sorrows — with a plate of buffalo wings. Go for turkey burgers or salmon burgers with lots of veggies instead. If you really crave red meat, ask for lean or extra-lean beef burgers (and keep the patties to the size of a deck of cards). Want more tips? You can score some good eats and still have a heart-healthy football season.
- It’s called an all-you-can-eat buffet for a reason. The price may be right — but the price to your heart health could be too much. It’s dangerously easy to load up on calories and unhealthy fats when you pile up your plate. You can eat healthy at a buffet if you fill up on greens and whole-grains, but if you’re too tempted to take it easy, skip the buffet and check out our healthy tips for dining out.
- I’ll start being healthy tomorrow. Resolve to do it now instead. Each day will bring more challenges and stresses. Start eating healthy today — so you’ll build the skills to get through all those tomorrows. Begin with the American Heart Associations Diet & Lifestyle Recommendations. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish — one bite at a time!
Last reviewed 9/2014.