Everyday vs Sometimes vs Occasional Foods
Most people describe food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
I really don’t these terms being used for food as there is no ‘bad’ food* (it didn’t rob a bank or dodge paying its taxes!)
However there definitely is some food you should think twice about before putting it in your mouth!
Why don’t I like using good and bad associations around food?
1. it doesn’t explain what that food REALLY is like (healthy vs unhealthy)
2. it can encourage emotional eating, and
3. it actually encourages more of the unhealthy behaviours most of us try to avoid (like when we feel ‘bad’ – unhappy, etc – we tend to reach for the ‘bad’ – unhealthy – food but just end up feeling worse. The cycle repeats!)
How we talk about food
Affects our behaviours around it
Food is such a wonderful, enjoyable part of life.
It is the focus of most social occasions and we need to be able to be a part of these social occasions without feeling guilty or punishing ourselves for what we have chosen to eat.
As that is just crazy!
We need to eat to survive
We just need to make healthier choices MOST of the time
Here is a better way to categorise food.
First – call ‘good’ food what it really is – healthy
And ‘bad’ food what it really is – unhealthy
If you have a goal of being healthy – using these terms will support your efforts to do so!
And then try this approach…
Everyday, Sometimes and Occasional Foods…
These are the foods to base your intake on as they are nutrient dense and support good health.
They include all fruit & vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lentils & pulses, lean protein foods, low fat dairy products or dairy alternatives and healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds.
These are the foods you should include only sometimes as they are more processed, contain added unhealthy fats and/or sugar, are more calorie dense and not necessary for good health (but they often do taste good!).
How often you choose to eat these foods really depends on your health and weight goals.
They include refined grains (e.g. white flour), fattier cuts of meat, chocolate, sugary foods (cakes, biscuits, etc) and desserts.
These foods really should only be included occasionally if you want to be healthy.
These foods are highly processed, contain more unhealthy fats and/or sugar than ‘sometimes’ foods, so are even more calorie dense and will easily help you to gain weight and be detrimental to your health if you include them too often.
They are rare indulgences rather than a daily inclusion.
These include deep fried foods, lollies, fatty & processed meats, pastries and high fat desserts.
putting this into practise (which takes time!!)
That apple is no longer a ‘good’ food, it is an ‘everyday’ food which you need to eat daily if you want to be healthy.
That chocolate cake is no longer a ‘bad’ food. It is a ‘sometimes’ food because it contains more fat and sugar and if you eat it too often or eat too much, it can displace other healthier foods and could assist you to gain weight.
So no foods are ever disallowed or forbidden. You are in control. You get to choose what to eat, how much to eat and how often to include the ‘sometimes’ and ‘occasional’ foods depending on YOUR health goals.
If you want to be healthy, you know which foods to eat more often,
which foods to eat sometimes and those foods to eat only occasionally!
what about treats?
My last important tip on how we talk about food – food IS NOT a treat! Treats are for dogs!
We need to eat to survive. Just make healthier choices MOST of the time. Eating more mindfully can help with this.
Instead treat or pamper yourself with non-food rewards like a massage, or pedicure or some other sort of (non-food related) indulgence that makes you feel good inside and puts a smile on your face 🙂
*There are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods – food is morally neutral.
Why is a food deemed ‘bad’?
Because it contains (usually added) unhealthy fats and/or sugar, it usually is highly processed, contains little nutritional value, it most likely can promote weight gain (depending of course on how much you eat) and it does support good health. However, no one can say they’ve uncovered an evil conspiracy between bacon and eggs to raise our cholesterol!
Why is a food seen as being ‘good’.
Because it contains lots of important nutrients that we need to keep us healthy and usually doesn’t promote weight gain (again depending of course on how much you eat!). But has anyone come forward claiming to have seen heavenly angels flying about their salad?
So food is morally neutral.