Good food vs Bad food... Is there really a difference ? When it comes to food, “good” and “bad” are relative terms. Almost anything can be healthy, depending on the person and context. And if you have no food values, meal structure, knowledge, or routine, it doesn’t really matter whether kale is better than broccoli. However, there are foods that have more nutritional content than others such as the difference between pop tarts and fruit. Eating foods with a higher nutritional density are ultimately better for you but your body really doesn't say the pop tarts are bad so lets make them into fat.
Clients often ask me to list foods that are good and bad. I don’t like doing that. Assigning a moral value to food isn’t a healthy idea. Just like cheat meals. I prefer to say re-feeds because you are essentially giving your body more carbs and I always suggest to have an 80/20 rule. Good versus evil leads down a road that makes it impossible to enjoy any food.
Ask yourself if you have a certain food criteria to follow. Do you choose to eat organic? Do you label good vs. bad foods ? Do you tend to binge when you put a label on these foods? Do you follow a certain food restriction diet because of dietary needs or because of a fad? Does it fit into your life ?
You need to have an understanding of all of these criteria in order to find a plan that works for you and your lifestyle. It all boils down to having your priorities straight and committing to the diet you believe in. Decide if you truly believe in one approach, and get after it. Secondly, why are you eating foods that make you feel bad? Just because they are supposed to be healthy doesn't me you need to eat it. If broccoli makes you feel bloated, don’t eat it. You have so many options at the grocery store from all over the world. Broccoli may not be great for you specifically but other vegetables will be. Get creative, learn how to cook different foods in interesting ways, and listen to your body.
Forcing yourself to eat foods you dislike will only lead to bad choices in the future. Eating nothing but raw vegetables in the morning for the love of “detox” will lead to a big gallon of Ben and Jerry’s a few days later, believe me we have ALL been there. Raw vegetables are great in a salad, and Ben and Jerry’s is okay too, with a reasonable portion and if it fits into your macros for the day. Moderation is key in terms of long term success.
Lastly, consider the BIG picture when it comes to food quality.
If you find yourself asking the following questions: Are white potatoes or sweet potatoes better? Is it better to use pink salt or black salt? Is Greek yogurt healthier than regular yogurt? These questions are an immediate red flag that you are looking at the small details instead of your diet as a whole. Mix and match, be creative, and enjoy different foods depending on what mood you are in or what’s on sale or in season!
Stick to the basics of nutrition and learn to embrace creativity! You should enjoy eating and not be so concerned whether it's good or bad and more concerned about eating for high quality nutrition!