Moderation is key; what do you think?
Whatever the season, I am sure we all enjoyed (enjoy) eating more, or more things that is not very healthy. Think about ice creams, milkshakes and the like, during summer. Breads, pasta dishes, rusks and the like, during winter. Is it really all that bad to eat things that is normally seen as unhealthy; or is it fine as long as you keep it to a minimum?
My personal perspective, and experience, has taught me that, regardless what you eat; it is the amount and size that count! Of course, as a Nutritionist myself, I will never recommend eating junk food per se; but if you do want to treat yourself to the occasional pizza or burger, it is ok and you don’t have to stress about it. It does, however, become a no-no, if you want to eat it every other day or once a week. The reason is simple: “junk” food, just like processed foods, have got hidden salts, sugars and other synthetic add-ons in, that you normally wouldn’t find in a home cooked meal. For people who are sensitive and/or allergic to certain products, eating too much processed foods can play havoc on your digestive system; not to mention your waistline.
During warm, summer months, you want more fluids and cold things to eat. Having ice cream is fine, but, if you are worried about your waist line, opt for ice cream with less cream in or sorbet. The verdict is still out, but the latest research indicates that low fat milk has more calcium in than full cream milk. The only difference is the amount of fat in the milk. Quenching your thirst with water is not only a healthier option, but it really does the trick. Having a cooldrink is not bad, but be careful of the amount of soda you drink. Even when the label says it is “sugar free,” it is not. Instead of putting sugar in, it is laced with synthetic products that are unhealthier than sugar. Sugar per se (in its raw, unrefined and unbleached form) is not bad; it is the amount that you ingest that is the culprit (so to speak).
In winter months people tend to navigate towards “comfort foods,” for example pasta, soups, breads and other starchy products. Our bodies instinctively knows that it needs these types of food for “fuel” and to stay warm. Again, it is not what you eat but the amount. Making small changes can make a big difference, for example instead of eating white bread, opt for brown or whole wheat; instead of using cream in your soup, add yogurt or milk. If you know that you are sensitive to / intolerant of certain grains (pasta), then make sure to use a brand that you can eat. Many people opt for Durum wheat Semolina, instead of Durum wheat. Not only is the Semolina easier to digest, but the hard wheat shells have been removed. Pesticides are a big culprit in causing food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Whenever you can, opt for organic and free-range produce.
Whatever season you are enjoying right now, always make sure to listen to your body and watch your portions! If you find yourself feeling hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If you are not really hungry but peckish, try nibbling on dried fruit, nuts, rice cakes or fruit; instead of crisps, chocolates and so forth. However, do allow yourself the odd chocolate, ice cream, pasta, hot chocolate and pizza! Just don’t replace your healthy meals and foodstuff, with processed, ready-made dishes. Even if you are living on your own, make sure to cook your own meals. You can cook in bulk and freeze it, if you don’t have loads of time during the week to cook. Grabbing a meal on the go is easier yes, but is it as nutritious, healthy and full of flavour as a home cooked meal? Rarely! Enjoy the seasons and remember, moderation and size, are the two important ingredients when it comes to enjoying “comfort” or junk food.