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13 Differences between Good Eating and Healthy Eating

charmaine jones

I received a text message from my brother yesterday.  When I opened the message it was a picture of my one year old niece Emma.   I immediately smiled.  She is beautiful.  However, I couldn’t notice how big she gotten since the last time I saw her.  Wow. Emma is a little tubby for a one year old.    I couldn’t hold my peace; therefore, I immediately called my brother.   After saying our hellos, I just started firing away— you need to start watching what Emma eats.  She is getting too big, too fast.  What are you feeding her?  My brother laughed and said, “Don’t worry.  She is just one years old.  Emma is getting big because that’s what ‘good eating’ does to you.”  “She’ll thin out as she gets older.”  I just held the phone and cringed.   After taking a long deep sigh, I told him I would send him a list of healthier foods and a portion size chart that will help replace those high-sugary snacks and large portion meals.  This list will ensure that Emma eats the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables and proteins for her age group.    

 So many of us have confused “Good Eating” with “Healthy Eating;” and therefore, it is my duty as a food and nutrition advocate, registered dietitian nutritionist  to help clarify this cliché, which could be a reason why so many of us overeat and over indulged in high-fat and high sugary foods. 


1. Good Eating: There is more meat on your plate than vegetables

Healthy Eating:  Half your plate are vegetables

2. Good Eating: Your eyes dictate how you pack your plate

Healthy Eating: You control your hunger urge by having a light snack before your meal and fixing your meal using a small plate

3.Good Eating: You devour your meal quickly just to have seconds

Healthy Eating: You eat slowly. You enjoy your food and guest (s) by having a good discussion 

It takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal the stomach you’re full

4. Good Eating: Your food is prepared in solid fat (i.e. butter, beef fat, chicken fat, lard, stick margarine, and shortening oil)

Healthy Eating: Your food is prepared with healthier oils such as canola, olive, peanut, corn, safflower, sunflower oils

5. Good Eating:  When your food is smothered or topped with butter or some creamy sauce i.e. Alfredo sauce

Healthy Eating: You replace creamy sauces with tomato based sauces such as Mariana sauce or creamy sauces made with low-fat dairy or mayonnaise

Plain pasta with a small amount of butter and herb spices (i.e. basil) is always healthy choice

6. Good Eating:  Your food portions are huge:

Your meat is larger than your hand palm (about ½ cup or 3 to 5 ounces), your mash potatoes is bigger than half your fist  (about 1/2 cup), and your pat of butter is bigger than your thumb tip (about 1 tsp)

You use a small plate such as a lunch plate to control food portions    

Healthy Eating: Your dinner plate looks like this:

 5-6 oz steak, ½ cup of mashed sweet potato with skin, ½ cup of steamed broccoli and ½ cup of steamed carrots

7. Good Eating:  You overindulge in high-fat and high-sugar desserts such as cookies, cakes, pies, milkshake, ice cream

Healthy Eating: You eat desserts that are made with fresh fruit or fruit puree to reduce the amount of sugar and calories 

8.  Good Eating:  You over use seasonings such as salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt, sea salt, celery salt or onion salt

Healthy Eating: Your food is boost with flavor from delicious herbs and spices such as basil, black pepper, rosemary, garlic, thyme, or curry powder

9. Good Eating:  You eat until you feel stuffed

Healthy Eating: You eat before you get too hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, not full.  You have a good sense of listening to your hunger and satiety cues.   This is a good way of controlling your weight and curbing your urge for a second helping.   Leftovers are properly stored in the refrigerator to be eaten the next day

10. Good Eating:  You can’t control your fat tooth or sweet tooth

Healthy Eating: You trick your fat tooth or sweet tooth by eating low-fat desserts made with fresh fruits or healthier ingredients to reduce the amount of sugar and calories

11.   Good Eating:  You eat fried foods more than 3-4 times a week with heavily buttered bread or roll

Healthy Eating: You eat lean meats that are either baked, broiled, grilled, sautéed or boiled

You select  whole grain bread or roll with a light spread of  olive oil  or a pat of butter (equivalent to a poker chip)

12.  Good Eating:  You choose greasy French fries as an vegetable  

Healthy Eating: Instead you select a small baked potato or sweet potato with the skin.  Oven baked fries are great option too.

13.  Good Eating:  You overindulged at Fast-food restaurants and carry-outs

Healthy Eating: You simply love home cooked meals because they are simply healthier.


Take away Health and Nutrition Tips:

1. Learn body signals for fullness and real hunger.  Forget the “clean-plate club.”  You don’t need to eat everything on your plate if you’re satisfied. 

2. Sit down to eat, rather than nibble while you do other things.  Focus on your food.  That way you know that you’ve eaten. 

3. Rethink your ways of eating.  Do any habits promote weight gain? Consider what, when, why, where, and how you eat.  If you need to, make some changes!

4. Lastly, think before you eat.  Ask yourself: Is it worth the calories.

Resource: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Complete Food & Nutrition Guide by Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS