What Is Stopping You from Eating Healthy Majority of The Time?

Genuinely curious what are your biggest challenges stopping you from eating a healthy, nutritious, well-balanced diet? E.g. Time / Effort / Not knowing what to make/eat? Or others?

In the current environment of misinformation (conflicting fad diets, Netflix nutrition 'documentaries') I have started writing a Nutrition ebook, which I am aiming to make a concise, scientifically-backed and actionable information resource to help people make the right food choices to live happy, healthy lives.

Is there anything else you would like explained / investigated in the field of nutrition / healthy eating?

I will definitely run a special for OzBargainers once released.


  • money

    • Its cheaper to meal prep on a Sunday for the week and you could buy a bag of fruit or vegies for under 5 dollars especially frozen ones for 2 dollars so it's just more of an excuse and lack of effort.

    • +1

      How much do you spend on food every week? I average probably $8 per day and all my nutrient levels in a bloodtest were fine. I cook foods that last 4-5 days and take approx 1hr - 1.5hr to prepare/cook/clean up after, then every day after that its a microwave dish into the dishwasher.

  • +3

    Most Australian's are controlled by marketing and propaganda posing as news and that's where their nutrition knowledge comes from.

    The messages are tailored around getting them to consume as much cheap crap processed into high margin products as possible and in practice that means grain based products made palateble with sugar.

  • +1

    I eat mostly unhealthy home-cooked meals.
    Oil just makes everything taste so damn nice.

  • +1

    New information is always coming to the fore, what maybe "correct" today might be overturned in 5 years, there is no real answer atm, most answers are generalised for everyone, not tailored to the individual, which means what might be right for you, is not right for someone else.

  • Cost and time for me.

  • Time, I've got a 4 month old who doesn't day nap so I can't really meal prep as she ll cry if shes alone, doesn't sit for long in bouncers or swings. So when I get a spare 5 mins, put the kettle on and cup noodles it is. Hubby has varying work hours as well so he tries to cook when he can but it's mostly take out :(

  • +2

    What stops me? Well, the vast majority of people I meet who eat healthily all the time appear to be joyless prats who constantly go on about how superior they are.

  • alot more convenient for me to purchase fast food than cook a healthy nutritious meal.
    meal planning is great for saving money and time, but once its in the fridge it looses it "freshness" for me, you heated it up in the microwave and it just never tastes as good or any good at all, id rather go purchase some fast food where its still freshly cooked, fried whatever.

    to sum it up im lazy and dont have the discipline to keep to my lifestyle that i need to eat, rather i eat to the lifestyle that i want.
    i need more discipline to stick to my diet and regime but it seems i just dont have it.

  • Convenience.

    However healthy eating ain't rocket science - cut out the sugar and anything made with flour, eat lots of vegetables every day.

  • +5

    My wife buys chocolate, I eat the chocolate. We have a great relationship.

    • lol

    • Depends on chocolate doesn't it?

  • Flavor

    • +1

      Sorry to be that person but if you think healthy food tastes bad then that's a reflection of your cooking skills more than anything.

  • +1

    I eat very healthy diet for the majority of my meals. When I do choose to have something different the main reason i enjoy fatty/sugary foods is that it tastes better. If I could maintain a healthy weight and nutrition with fatty/sugary/salty foods I would drop my current eating habits in a heart beat,

  • +2

    Hatred for my fellow man. And myself. Mostly myself.

  • Define Healthy ? Homemade pasta/fried noodles/rice and curry/ bread ? Subway? Serasa salad?

    • i love that Subway's marketing team seems to have convinced people that eathing a loaf of bread at lunch is somehow healthy

      • +1

        What's wrong with Subway? I grab a 6 inch vegie sub when in a pinch, it's not far off what I'd make at home.

        • the bread for one… it's frozen/defrosted/frozen/defrosted..

          doesn't the smell put you off when you are near the store?

  • +2

    Sometimes I feel there's something wrong with me, but I'm just not motivated by food. I only eat to live rather than the other way around. When i'm taking a lunch break at work, I just want to eat something that will stop me feeling hungry. That's basically my only motivation, and sadly it's usually carb-heavy foods that do that, so that's what I naturally find myself going towards. I bust my arse at the gym most days to counteract it as much as possible, but yeh, I just don't care about food. Actually thinking of signing up to a Soylent style company soon

    • Actually, you are normal and the rest of us are weird. We are supposed to eat just to live. Eating for enjoyment is a luxury.

  • I think its all cost/benefit. Pay more money for a more healthy meal or eat maccas for a more healthy wallet.

    When I'm behind a desk, i don't really need to spend the extra money on healthy food.
    If I need my body in peak condition, i'll spend the extra money on a healthy diet.

    • Maccas is hardly what I'd call cheap… notwithstanding the money you will expend in resolving health issues down the line. Healthy food can be prepared far more cheaply.

  • I don't have breakfast… I graze through the day… and for dinner I eat a bowl of oats.
    Apart from the money I am saving… I do 80 pushups a day on knuckles (plus other exercises).
    There is no such thing as an unhealthy diet… only an unhealthy life style.

  • I would say either ignorance, laziness, affordability, or a combination of these.

  • affordability easier and quicker to go to maccas then subway etc

    • Subway is just as bad as mcdonalds in some cases.

  • Stress and distraction stop me from eating properly.

  • Your own mind

  • Nothing. I haven't had any junk food for 15+ years and eat healthy all the time. It's not hard to understand what's good/bad for you but most people are time poor (i.e lazy and don't prioritize). And of course people buy into bs fads and believe marketing hype and dodgy food (front) labeling. I look around and see what most kids eat these days and know society is f**d! Good luck for anyone who needs to depend to public health service in 20 years time.

  • It's the time, effort and cost of preparing healthy meals. If we all could afford it, we would always eat healthy meals. Junk food is cheap and convienent. It's really that simple.

    • +4

      Myth and a cope-out really. I cook healthy meals every night and it costs far less than eating takeaway junk. I generally prepare everything in less than 60mins. Let's not even talk about how much people spend on alcohol. Lack of effort, that I buy. Although in the long run people will have to put in more effort managing all sorts of health issues.

      • I had a friend (not me!) who used to get $5 of hot chips and a loaf of bread to feed his small family because it was cheaper than anything else.

        I don't think you can get much lower effort or cheaper than that.

        • +4

          Actually you can - Compared to that 'garbage' you can get some pasta($1)/sauce($1)/tuna($3) for the same price which is a far healthier alternative to eating chips every day. For an extra $1-2 you can add a bag of frozen veggies to it. Yea there's some effort involved in boiling pasta and dumping 2 ingredients on top.

          • @gimme: Good practical advice for the novices to this.

          • @gimme: Could even do Uncle Ben's rice - put it in the microwave so no cooking involved. Might be slightly more than pasta but quicker and easier if time is an issue.

          • @gimme: That's not cheaper or lower effort?

            I do agree the chips is not a good option at all and get your point that there are better options for those who prepare.

            I usually cook up several weeks worth of chicken based meals to assist my gym goals. I think it works out to be ~$3 a meal but there is an hour or so of prep every few weeks.

        • I'd consider myself to eat very poorly, but even couldn't eat chips and bread on the regular. There's exactly zero nutritional value there, just empty carbs. Good for a lunch after a night on the grog, but not as a "meal". I feel bad for kids involved in that situation.

      • Over the last year it's even gotten to the stage where when my family eats out (not often), I bring a jar of my beans/veg stew, which takes an hour to prepare and abother to cook but lasts many meals.

      • 60 minutes is about 60x longer than it takes me to order ubereats.

        • That's true. I did say laziness and/or poor time mgmt is a reason but not cost$$

      • Chicken breast is a cheap and nutritious staple, easy to cook and can be put with anything.
        Agree with gimme.

    • You could pick up a sandwich or fruits instead of chips or chocolate so not really an excuse

    • Junk food is not food. You are paying for chemicals that make you think that you are eating something that it is not.

      eg. Gummy lilies are made from pork cut offs.. Huffington post posted a clip a while back.. google it.

  • You know there is already "How not to die Cookbook"

    Validated information based on science, not pseudoscience.

    The answer to your first question, convenience and time.

  • ceebs

  • +1

    Dominos coupons

  • +2


  • +1

    Eat whatever crap you want and just practice intermittent fasting and get off your arse a few times a week and go for a walk. Problem solved. Not hard.

  • +4

    I can't reach the vegetables at Coles because my beer gut gets in the way.

  • +1

    Weirdly enough, my partner.

    He doesn't eat healthy at all, where I would love a piece of fish and a salad he won't eat that. It's too time consuming and expensive to cook two separate meals, so I just end up eating the same garbage he eats, or not at all.

    Not a great system but meh. So I guess laziness is a factor too. Sometimes I manage to sneak in healthy meals that he will pick at, throw in the bin and heat up a frozen pizza once I'm in bed.

    • +1

      Make him watch The Game Changers or Forks Over Knives on Netflix. Or even Supersize Me.

      But seriously he's not a kid, he can make his own food if he wants to eat garbage. I know it's hard but either he eats what you cook or he can make his own.

  • -2

    Nutrition ebook

    What are your credentials?

    Don't waste your time or the public's. There are already excellent books by qualified authors such as Greger, Campbell, Esselstyn, Ornish, etc.

  • +3


    I’ve never craved a salad from the back seat of a cab at 2am.

  • +1

    Can't afford to live too long, not enough super

  • Cost, effort, taste. That's the main three for me.

  • I don't need to eat healthy food because at this point no matter how bad I eat, my blood results always return healthy, ditto for body aesthetics.

    Also I love food and healthy food doesn't taste that great. Yes, I have tried eating the healthy dishes some here have proposed, and even Buddhist dishes that taste like meat.

  • +1

    Honestly? Bit of a long one.

    I live in a share house with 4 other guys in their 20's, two of them in Uni and two of them unemployed. We share a large granny flat under a lovely family in the suburbs. When I get home the kitchen bench, cooktop and microwave are all in various states of use or have been used recently and not cleaned. I only have about one half of one head height cupboard to store my own food and to avoid having food stolen all my cold stuff is in a fridge in my own locked room.

    This forms the environment I enter when I get home from work at 6pm and when I leave for work in the morning at 7:30am.

    While I am decent at time management I just don't feel secure enough in my living space to cook for myself, I rely on services like youfoodz for healthy meals and I frequent a sandwich bar during my lunch break at work. When the fridge is bare however I will pick something up from maccas or subway on the way home just to avoid the hassle.

    I plan to change all of this of course when I have the funds required to buy my own place or at least share it with someone I know.

    • You're fine as you are still a 'child' in a house share situation. Pretty much everyone eats shit at that age. As long as yo change those habits by the time you hit 30 it's all good.

    • That's also me. Except the various states is simply the way the lady of the house likes it to be like. Minimal space, maximum stuff. We tell guests (health care workers) that we're busy, but it's a lie. It's usually worse.

  • +1

    As soon as I started routinely eating healthy, eating shitty food makes me lethargic for more than a day. KFC hangover is a real thing, as much as I love it I rarely eat it.

    Cost is a bullshit excuse - healthy food is cheaper in the short and long term. It's a cycle that you have to break free from and the longer you go without the bad food the less you desire it - something to do with the gut flora (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270213/).

  • Read / listen to (audible) a grain of salt. Very interesting.

    • Hey thanks for this recommendation - looks great!!

  • Focus.
    I eat well 80-90% of the time, which is the time I cook and prepare my own meals. I've become very good at shopping and buying (and consuming), but if I go to a restaurant or travel, I'll go to the dark side. In those environments I lose focus and the heavy, programmed distractions lead me to buy something that counters my health goals.
    A good example is free food or buffets, they completely relax your focus and overwhelm with the distraction of a simple (free) and complex (multiple taste sensations) benefit at the same time.
    I hope awareness of this fact is enough to bring about change and an established habit.

    Good topic OP!

  • +1

    emotional eating and comfort eating. Weak WillPower and discipline

  • +1

    I hate shopping and I hate cooking.

  • +1

    laziness and lack of time or effort to cook

  • Shift work.
    And eating terribly is tasty.

  • +1

    Cos unhealthy food is too delicious.

  • I find price is a big issue in this regard, its a lot pricier to eat healthy nutritious food that also tastes good.

    • what would be specific examples of nutritious food that tastes good but too expensive?

      • Smoothie $7+ vs slushie.
        Fruit salad vs choc.

  • Healthy food is bland

    • +2

      It is, but I think our culture has not managed our expectations well. Food doesn't need to be 100% enjoyable all the time.

      • Yep or #foodporn. Those are sometimes food, and yet we're surrounded… all the time.

  • +1

    Nutritious food doesn't need to be expensive or difficult to prepare.

    eg. Steak on the bbq only takes 5 minutes to cook and costs less than most fast foods too.

    • Most people would suggest that steak isn't healthy.

      • +3

        Steak is very nutritious and healthy.

      • How could steak possibly be unhealthy?

  • +1

    What Is Stopping You from Eating Healthy Majority of The Time?

    Deliberate fasting for the majority of the time, then eating healthy food the rest of the time.

  • I think it's an addiction in my case. I had a gastric sleeve done which has significantly cut down my eating, but what I eat is still mostly junk.

    I did lose approximately the same amount of weight au naturale once, but gained it all back. I know what's good and what's bad.

    I have lost a significant amount of weight since my surgery, though - worth every penny if someone's looking into trying it.

  • +1

    I listen to Jeremy Scott's podcasts - the dude swears a lot and talks a lot of good sense, even if he does bang on about macros a shade more than I'd like.

    The problem with this whole industry to date is the focus and the approach. The focus has been on this number in kilos as the holy grail when it isn't, and the approach has been very instant-gratification, '30 days to wellness, cut out this whole food group, do this completely unrealistic thing to lose x kilos' type stuff, when the focus needs to be on overall health, not just weight, and the approach needs to be incremental and committed to both as a hobby, a goal, and a long term lifestyle.

  • Kids. It is so much easier and less resistance to feel them processed foods.

  • +2

    'Genuinely curious what are your biggest challenges stopping you from eating a healthy, nutritious, well-balanced diet? E.g. Time / Effort / Not knowing what to make/eat? Or others?'

    Habit - typically learned in childhood - I've seen small kids turn up their nose as a beautiful fresh red strawberry - 'fruit? - YUCK!'

    Emotion - overweight folk often overeat to assuage bad feelings about being bullied for being overweight - a vicious circle - Oprah said until she worked out feelings about being raped as a girl she could never lose weight

    High energy density foods like high-fructose corn syrup - since about the '80's when McDonald started to put this stuff in hamburger BUNS, and whenever Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew realised that if you keep adding acid you can keep adding sugar until you end up with teeth-dissolving addiction for tiny kids, viz. Appalachian kids having all their teeth extracted at age 6-8yo, etc.

    Youth - young people first time away for home in first decent paying jobs typically spend everything they earn on going out and eating out, e.g. 'My credit card is maxed out - where are we going out to eat tonight?' - now with AfterPay and UberEats you can rack up your monthly bills without leaving home.

    Not knowing what[or how] to cook - we stayed with a retired guy in England who had lived by himself for decades. First night he took us to his favourite pub where we ate a meal we thought was disgusting. For second night dinner we went to the local Tesco, grabbed an easy pack of steak for under $10, my partner spend a few minutes cooking it in a frypan, and he was ecstatic - 'wow - this is the best steak I've ever eaten in my LIFE!'- we were 'oh - sorry to hear that about your life …'

    • Habit - typically learned in childhood - I've seen small kids turn up their nose as a beautiful fresh red strawberry - 'fruit? - YUCK!'

      I loved fruit as a kid, but strawberries were never my thing. Usually too tart for my liking, despite it being my favourite 'flavour' in most processed foods. I think bananas, (red) apples and grapes are probably the best starting point for kids to get them to eat fruit.

    • I've got that 'habit' thing too, processes and packaged is best. Fresh is a no go. - That is until recently where I can buy my own food, though storage is still a battle. Why don't I trust fresh things that weren't bought into the house by me? Well, lets just say one day I saw a rotting pumpkin sinking into the floor, the next day pumpkin soup was on the menu.

  • Convenience ~ to make a truly healthy meal takes planning, buying, preparing, whereas convenience dictates just get something from the supermarket, or worse, take away..

    Cultural ~ culturally dictated to eat what we have always been marketed/taught to eat ( meat and 3 veg ? ), as opposed to changing your lifestyle to eating WFPB, which takes a lot of dedication and effort.

  • What is healthy eating? Most ways of eating are scientifically backed. Back in the 50's when the 7 countries study showed fat was bad for us, Keys chose to ignore countries that didn't prove his hypothesis. That is what these ways of eating do, they pick and chose studies to prove their point.

    As far as that Netflix documentary, the science spoke about the benefits of whole plant based diet and then it showed people eating processed carbs. That powerlifter had a pizza, plate of paste and whatever other shit in front of him. It was ridiculous when you consider that studies have proven processed foods, regardless of whether they come from an animal or not, are bad for you.

    So, what is healthy eating? Today we have people that only eat beef and salt, some eat whole vegetables, others exist on high fat, some will tell you orange juice and cereal is healthy, Subway is marketed as healthy even though it's one of the worst fast foods if you are low carb.

    I think there is now enough science that makes it clear, processed food is bad regardless of where it comes from so for me, healthy is whole foods and I eat like that every day at home but no doubt someone has a problem with the scotch fillet I am going to eat after my workout this morning and say I am unhealthy.

  • Interesting all the comments about junk food tasting better than "healthy" food

    Grease-laden fast food is gross to me, i would much rather eat something light and fresh. Unless I am starving I would rather eat nothing that something like a big mac or equivalent.

    And the comments about health food being bland I don't get either. I like a lot of chili and spice and to me that has a lot more taste than greasy fast food that all seems top taste the same.

  • +1

    Lack of time / laziness.

    I always keep the freezer stocked with healthy left overs but during busy work periods it's easy to empty the freezer out and resort to takeaway.

  • +2

    For me, it's got to do with my work and life. I feel bored and angry most of the time.

    Food, mostly unhealthy food seems to be an escape, or something to look forward to, as sad as it may sound.

    I guess not having anything else to look forward to, or keep my mind on, just makes me want to eat even if I may not be hungry at the time.

    • For me it's stress. Some days are planned around food, which end up being a series of snacks and potential regrets. I'm a sugar addict.

  • +1

    I think it's boredom / emotions for most.

  • Money.

  • There's always excuses just simply need to stop giving yourself any excuses and start doing it. It's that simple really.

    But what makes it not so simple is most people lack the mental discipline to do it, cultivating that is the hard part.

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