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Susan Hart: The 80 / 20 rule of healthy eating

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Very few things in life are perfect and the same can be true of your diet.  Its hard to not look at the delicious cakes at the coffee shop and then ask only for a black coffee, when you really want that lovely cake as well. 

This is where the 80/20 rule comes in.  We never do 100% of things 100% perfectly, so why do we expect to eat perfectly all of the time.  It places an unrealistic expectation on us. If you want to lose weight and keep it off then give the 80/20 rule a go.

It’s the ‘perfect’ way to eat

For 80% of the time eat a healthy balanced diet and 20% of the time have some well deserved treats.  It’s that simple!

How it works

Over a week you will probably eat 3 meals and 2 snacks every day, that’s 35 different times every week you have to make food choices.

So 80% of the time (or 28 times during the week) make good healthy choices; for instance:

  • Eat lots of fruit and veg in a rainbow of colours
  • Drink 8 glasses of water
  • Eat good quality protein like quinoa, Quorn,  tofu, nuts, eggs, oily fish (salmon and mackerel) and chicken
  • Eat more wholemeal grains like wholemeal pasta, bread and rice
  • Incorporate more beans and lentils into your cooking – for low fat, low cholesterol and high protein nutrition
  • Eat nutrient rich fats like olive oil, avocados, coconut oil
  • have plenty of calcium rich diary and non-dairy
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Snack on nuts and dried fruit
  • Reduce your portion size

About 20% of the time (or 7 times during the week) relax a bit and have a few treats.  That’s the time to really enjoy a glass of wine, a packet of crisps, a biscuit or two, a square of dark chocolate, a latte or a piece of cake.  But eat that treat Mindfully, which means really savour and appreciate that treat and most of all ENJOY it and don’t feel GUILTY.

A healthy balanced diet can accommodate treats but like many things (and I’ve talked about this before) it’s all about moderation!

But if you do need additional help and support then please consider coming to see me for a nutrition consultation.

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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