Quotes to keep eating simple

Eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Food product marketing drowns us in information about what we should be eating – omega this and enriched that. However, you can ignore this noise and use these quotes to keep eating simple.


“If you can’t say it, don’t eat it” – Michael Pollan

This quote helps me remember to eat real food with names that I can pronounce. Whole foods with names like potato, lettuce, and grapes. Whole foods: natural, unprocessed, and unrefined. If you haven’t read Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” I recommend picking it up. Or if you’re short on time just remember this: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

“If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it”

This quote might be obvious but, you can’t eat what you don’t buy. Want to stop eating Oreos? Stop buying them. I love breakfast cereal. A bit too much. So when I want to stop my cereal madness, I simply stop buying cereal. If I don’t have cereal, then I don’t have an opportunity to eat it.

“You don’t have to eat it all”

My parents taught me to finish everything on my plate and not waste food. As an adult I still finish everything on my plate. I may waste food in my fridge, but not on my plate! This is pretty silly if you think about it. Since I know that I’m a ‘plate cleaner,’ my strategy is to use a smaller plate. I fill up my small plate with food. If I’m still hungry after cleaning my plate, I add a little more.

When I dine out I have less control over the portions, so I either order something small (maybe an appetizer or a salad), or I split my entrée’ with somebody. If no one is interested in splitting, I split with myself by cutting my entrée’ in half and saving half for later.

“What would your grandma eat?”

This is another quote to keep you on the whole food path. When you consider eating something think, “would my grandma have eaten this as a child?” If you’re holding something in a box, then the answer is probably NO. But if you’re holding carrots, then the answer is probably YES. You can use this question when eating or buying food, to help steer you away from processed foods and towards whole foods.

Eating doesn’t have to be super complicated – you don’t need to be an expert in nutrition science. It’s a good idea to avoid food products that make health claims. Truly healthy products don’t come in packages and don’t need to make health claims. Keep these quotes in mind when eating and you’ll keep eating simple.

Do you have another quote? Please leave a Comment.


  1. Michael Pollan was on Steven Colbert tonight talking about this book.
    There was a funny moment when he talked about how formula hadn’t been perfected in over 150 years, and still wasn’t as good as breast milk. Steven asked him whether he’d been breast fed and he said he didn’t know. His mother was in the audience and revealed that he’d been bottle fed.

  2. I wasn’t trying to make any point about bottle/breast feeding, just that it was a funny moment.

    I think this is a good explanation of the basics of eating healthy- eat real food, not packaged stuff.

  3. I love “you don’t have to eat it all”. I was also raised (in the 1970’s) to eat everything on the plate. Especially something sweet, even if I was full, I’d keep eating it just because I love sweets and by golly, I couldn’t let it go to waste. I still do this. It’s been amazing to work with my son (almost 8), telling him his whole life that it’s okay to stop when he is full and we can compost the leftovers if they are not salvageable for another time. He will actually leave even cake or cookies or whatever, if he’s full and satisfied! It makes me so happy. I have always struggled with weight (lost 40 pounds 5 years ago and gained back 11 in the last year, darn 40+ metabolism, still working on it!) and so we talk a lot about eating healthy foods, treats are okay but don’t go crazy, don’t eat when you are bored (my downfall) and stop when you are full. It’s great to see those messages sinking in. It’s taken me almost 8 years but I’ve also mostly stopped nibbling off his plate when he is done, so even mama can learn. :-)
    great post, thanks

  4. Julia-

    Yes- we had that too- my parents called it “The Clean Plate Club.”
    I think the intention behind it was good- don’t waste food- there are people starving in other places, etc.
    But it only made people eat too much and learn to overeat.

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