Instead, it’s generally something along the lines of ‘Well, it depends….’ followed by a lengthy explanation of the importance of balance, moderation and context when assessing the health attributes of individual foods.
The word healthy seems to have become one of the most overused and abused words in our vocabulary. If the definition of a healthy food is one that is ‘good for one’s health’, any food could be considered healthy depending on the context. Eating a Mars Bar if you were starving in the desert (for argument’s sake) would surely be the more ‘healthy’ option than eating nothing at all. But does that make Mars Bars healthy?
The classification of foods as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ encourages us to see food as black or white, something that is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and in turn we consider ourselves ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on what food choices we make. But instead of relying on this arbitrary description to dictate what foods you eat (or think you should eat), try thinking about the following:
- Is the majority of what you’re eating whole, minimally processed plant foods (vegetables, legumes, fruit and grains)?*
- Are you including a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats?*
- Are you listening to your hunger and fullness signals and taking them into account when you decide what, how much and when you eat?*
- Are you enjoying food without obsessing about it, listening to your body and not eliminating any food groups?
Remember that all food can be part of a ‘healthy’ diet.
*If you’re not sure about any of these points, our dietitians and nutritionists can help.