We all know that there are foods that are a lot more nutrient dense then others. For example a meal which is made up of chicken breast and broccoli will provide the body with a lot more nutrients then a cheeseburger.
However, the stigma behind ‘good’ food and ‘bad’ food needs to be diminished. With the understanding of energy balance, we are able to enjoy food whilst still achieving the desired results we want. We need to remember that it is the quantity of food that will determine body composition and the quality of food that will determine our health and how we feel.
In saying this, having flexibility within your meal plan, whilst sticking within your weekly calorie and macro intake, has proven to be of a higher success rate compared to sticking to a very strict meal plan that has no amount of flexibility. Having little to no flexibility can cause an individual to go backwards with their body composition goals, as going off plan or ‘cheating’ can have a negative effect on their psychological health. Instead of feeling good, the individual will tend to beat themselves up and regret eating this ‘bad’ food and 90% of the time struggle to get back on track with their meal plan.
However, this can all be avoided if people understand that there is no good or bad food, that having flexibility within your nutrition can go a long way in terms of creating a healthier, well balanced lifestyle. Sticking to the 80/20 rule is a great way to ensure that you stick within your weekly caloric intake, but can still enjoy your food and not have the constant stress of struggling for food options.
Always remember that having an evidence based approach to your nutrition will enable you to stay on track, continue to be motivated, and allow you to enjoy your life whilst still reaching your goals. We need to eat smart, not just eat right.