‘All foods fit the meal’- enjoy your next dessert guilt-free!

‘All foods fit the meal’ — a concept I learned while interning at an eating disorder treatment center in Minneapolis. Clients with eating disorders tend to know more about nutrition facts — calories and fat (specifically) — than anybody else. As we tried to ingrain that all foods can fit a meal to these eating disorder clients, I figured that this is something I can practice and relate to as well.

Foods like chocolates, chips, and sodas among other foods are labeled as ‘junk’ — they are high in calories typically from sugar and fat and have low nutrient value. But these are not essentially wrong to consume once in a while.

Yes- if eaten in large quantities with no workout or physical activity, these foods can contribute to weight gain.

When you make ‘junk’ food a big portion of your diet, you fail to gain adequate nutrition. The key is to maintain a balance by making such foods a smaller part of your daily diet.

To keep things balanced, limiting the portion of your favorite chocolate or dessert to 2 -3 times a week in small quantities with regular workout is not a tough ask.

For instance, a Hershey’s snack size bar is about 60 calories and 3.6 g of fat. If you ate 1 serving size as labeled on the bag (which is 3 bars/serving), you would consume 3 times the calories and fat. The idea here is to manage your cravings by having the chocolate but not too much of it.

Most people are forced to believe that foods, labeled as “junk”, are bad for you and should hence refrain from consuming them.

Saying no or depriving one self from such foods can lead to phases of binging or overeating followed by restriction or starvation. And hence they are unable to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Learning to balance

Nutrition is highly individualistic — what works for one may not work for the other. Individuals need to find their own respective ways to manage and regulate their food choices.

Small changes like reducing your daily intake of 4 sodas a day to 2 or cutting the piece of cake in half and adding in physical activity like swimming or walking can help you enjoy life’s food pleasures much more than eliminating them all together.

“All foods fit the meal” is a behavior modification and no change is easy.

Make small steps at a time and nothing is impossible!

I am a strong believer of “All foods fit the meal — a true diet mentality that people need to embrace rather than deprive themselves from life’s simplest and sweetest pleasures!