Most of the time, nutritionists are full of brilliant ideas that help you eat healthier, stay slimmer, and live longer. But every once in a while, food gurus forget that the rest of us have limited time, funds, and willpower. So we collected seven of the hardest-to-swallow expert suggestions and replaced them with equally healthy tips that a normal person can actually use.
The advice: Chug eight glasses of water a day
Why it’s useless: Peeing every 20 minutes seriously interferes with life.
The real deal: Believe it or not, the eight-glass quota isn’t etched in stone. Yes, we need to be well-hydrated, but if your urine is clear or close to it, you’re probably getting enough fluids. If it’s neon yellow, lighten things up by adding one or two glasses a day. Once your body adjusts to getting more fluid, add another, says dietician Karen Benzinger. And don’t forget that all liquids – including tea, juice, even the tonic in your vodka drink – help keep your body sufficiently saturated.
The advice: Don’t drink juice – it’s a sugar bomb
Why it’s useless: Juice is a breakfast staple, and it’s essential for smoothies.
The real deal: There’s a big difference between 100 percent juice and a bottle of sugar water with a few cranberries squeezed into it. Yes, juice has a lot of the sweet stuff, but a 150ml glass of 100 percent juice also counts as a full serving of fruit and delivers many of the same vitamins and antioxidants, making it worth the occasional sugar rush. As long as you drink 100 percent juice (from concentrate is fine) and limit yourself to one 150ml to 250ml glass a day, you’re not breaking any rules of good nutrition.
The advice: Shut the kitchen down after 7pm to prevent weight gain
Why it’s useless: After a long day at the office and a trip to the gym, you either eat dinner at 9.30pm or starve.
The real deal: The no-food-right-before-bed rule was meant for the night-time nosher who mindlessly munches on Ouma rusks while watching CSI: Miami. If you get home long after dark, a late dinner is perfectly fine. But do keep your evening meal light – along the lines of a chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice. Too much chow will keep you up at night: to break down all that food, your stomach has to churn like a cement truck.
The advice: Put half your entrée in a takeaway box before you start to eat
Why it’s useless: You know you have portion-control issues, but that doesn’t mean you want everyone else at your table to know it too.
The real deal: A better way to cut back on restaurant binging is to pretend the breadbasket is sprinkled with cyanide and to double up on veggie sides instead of ordering chips. Also effective: putting your fork down between bites, which gives your stomach and brain time to register that you’re full (which takes about 20 minutes).
The advice: Have just one bite of dessert
Why it’s useless: That’s like telling an addict to have just a little crack.
The real deal: There’s nothing right about eating malva pudding, so just revel in how deliciously wrong it is. A smarter strategy: before you begin the debauchery, plan for the extra kilojoules – skip the appetizer, the bread, or (ouch) the booze. “If the dessert is really that good, it’s worth the sacrifice,” Benzinger says.