Don't trust food marketing
Food advertisements have one primary goal: to sell food. They’re not remotely concerned about your expanding waistline.
One ploy marketers use is to try to give you warm fuzzies about the food they're selling. They do this by using big letters on boxes that tout, "All Natural!" and "Organic!" (Doesn't that make you feel good?)
Bass says, "'Natural' doesn't mean 'better' or ‘void of the bad stuff.’" She gives sugar as a prime example, "Agave, honey, raw sugar, and so forth... sugar is sugar is sugar in terms of calories and carbs."
Instead of focusing on marketing buzzwords, turn that package around before you buy it and actually read the label. Or better yet, focus on foods that don't come with labels. You know, stuff like fresh fruits and veggies.
Do learn to trust your body's signals
This is tough because you've spent a lifetime squashing your body's natural hunger and fullness cues, but Bass insists they're still there. Mindfulness while eating -- preparing your own food, slowing down, chewing consciously, and really enjoying the experience without external distractions from your phone or TV -- can help you learn to listen to your body.
Barring that, for the love of God, don't screw up your children's natural hunger and fullness cues. Bass says, "Stop ever telling a child they have to clean their plate. It's the worst thing we've ever done to ourselves." Kids learn very early how to self-regulate food consumption, but when adults insist they eat more than they're actually hungry for, this self-regulation is disrupted, and it's very hard to relearn.
When you're looking for just one tip
If 10 rules are just too much to handle, Bass sums it all up with a single word: moderation. "Everyone is sick of registered dietitians saying it, but focus on moderation. Look for diets that teach portion control, a balanced plate, the elimination or reduction of processed foods -- specifically cookies, crackers, chips, refined breads, and so forth; a reduction -- but not an elimination -- of carbohydrates and something backed by a registered dietitian." She also clarifies that not all processed foods are off limits -- you should just avoid the ones that lack nutrient density. For instance, "Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are both technically processed, but they both provide a good source of protein and are good for you."