health

The healthy eating rules you're allowed to break.

Just not a salad person? Don’t worry about it.

 

If you’ve become engrossed in the world of healthy eating – you know, looking up healthy eating plans and following nutritionists on Instagram – you’ll know that there are certain rules you’re supposed to follow to ensure that your body is happily filled with oodles of nutritious ingredients.

Unfortunately, all of us have different taste buds. And try as you might, you may never truly enjoy green smoothies/salads/anything made with quinoa.

Here are the healthy eating rules you’re allowed to break. You’re welcome.

1) Eat salads every day

If you’re forcing yourself to eat salads every day for lunch, but always feeling unsatisfied after the salad – screw the salad! You don’t need to force one down your throat every day in order to stay healthy.

The main reasons for eating salads is that it’s an easy way to get a decent hit of veggies. But there are plenty of other meals that incorporate heaps of veggies. Try to go for something that also has some protein so you actually feel full after your meal, and don’t go reaching for some

Oh, and don’t feel guilty if all your colleagues buy salads for lunch while you munch on your avocado and chicken sandwich. Some salads can contain just as many calories as a Big Mac if they’ve got dressings and cheese added.

2) Don’t eat after 9pm

Due to a seriously bad work and uni schedule, I used to eat dinner at 10pm every night – and feel super guilty about it.

Turns out that the old myth about not eating after a certain time isn’t based on anything. Studies actually suggest that calories consumed after a certain hour are not burned any differently to those consumed at a different hour. So it doesn’t matter when you eat – what matters is how much you eat through the whole day. So don’t overeat at night, when you’re tired, and you’ll be just fine.

3) Don’t touch chocolate

On the contrary, our dietitian Amy Vero says that you should feel free to eat chocolate and not deprive yourself – just make sure it’s, like everything else, in moderation. She advises to choose quality over quantity – enjoy a small amount of your favourite, top-quality chocolate and savour every bite. Oh, and if you’re worried about overindulging, make sure you buy bite-size, smaller amounts of sweets so you won’t be tempted to eat your way through an entire pantry of items once you’ve had a bad day.

Thinking about a juice cleanse? Maybe think again.

4) Low-fat is the way to go

It’s only now that we are starting to develop an understanding of just how great the right fats are. Your body needs fat – it provides energy, repairs tissue and also transports various vitamins around the body. But you do need the right fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil.

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5) Juice detoxes are awesome for your health

You might often see juice detoxes advertised as the pinnacle of detoxing and getting your health back on track. On the contrary, as dietitian Amy Vero explained to me: “the problem with a juice detox is that it is unsustainable and highly restrictive, cutting out whole food groups, which can lead to side effects such as fatigue, dizziness and weakness. The body needs a variety of food groups to provide all the necessary nutrients that fruit and vegetable juice alone can’t provide, such as protein, zinc and iron.”

Claudette Wadsworth, a naturopath and nutritionist who specialises in women’s hormones and fertility, told me more:

If you’re doing a full juice cleanse properly, you wouldn’t be working, you’d be relaxing. These days, everyone is trying to do juice cleanses while still working and exercising and rushing around, so they find it difficult – the body is trying to detoxify as well as doing its normal functions. So if you do a juice cleanse, cut back and try and do it on a holiday or a time where you don’t have much else on.

So while it’s okay to enjoy fruit and vegetable juice (and they are a great way to get a decent of fruit and veggies), it is best to eat them as whole foods as part of healthy, balanced diet. And of course, everything in moderation.

6) Running is the key to fitness

Okay, this one isn’t so much a healthy eating rule, but a healthy living rule. Is it just me, or is running often held up as the pinnacle of fitness?

Don’t feel bad about yourself if you just can’t get into running. Some people just find it really boring, and that’s okay. There are a thousand other ways to get fit without pounding the pavement every day.

In fact, weights training is getting more and more of a reputation as being vital for your fitness. And it’s fantastic for your metabolism, which is mostly affected by body composition and size. Bigger muscles = more calories burned, usually.

If you’re not into running, go here or here or here to see some alternative workout ideas.

7) Make sure you count your calories

According to CBS News, calorie counting is so last season. Apparently, if you are dieting, it’s much more important to pay attention to the amount of fiber or natural ingredients in food. As a result, items like Diet Coke, Lean Cuisine and Special K are becoming less popular.

The main reasoning behind the shift away from low-calories? Those who are dieting don’t want to feel deprived and hungry once they finish their meal. And they don’t want super-processed foods – simply nutritious, wholesome items that are good for you.

What healthy eating rules do you follow, and what rules do you break?

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