When it comes to eating healthy without going crazy, “everything in moderation” has become a commonly heard mantra. But what actually counts as moderation and does it really apply to everything?
Let’s contrast moderation with extreme eating. One means eating everything under the sun — French fries, Ho Hos, Skittles, hamburgers and milk shakes — all the time and in vast quantities. The other necessitates eating “healthy” foods and always shunning things you like that might be rich or sugar-filled, like the occasional scoop of ice cream or slice of chocolate cake.
There’s got to be a good middle ground and there is: eating healthy foods (like fruits and vegetables, beans, fish, whole grains and other lean proteins) often — think of these as the backbone of your diet. And then eating more indulgent foods in smaller quantities and more occasionally. How this plays out in your own regimen is up to you — you know what foods you like and which you want to make room for in your diet. And you also know how often you want those foods. If you want to have dessert every night, for instance, you might just learn to have a small portion of something and to really enjoy it when you eat it. Or you might find that your favorite butter-laden restaurant meal is something you want to splurge on from time to time, but that the next day you just crave lighter fare. At the end of the day, your body will tell you what it needs. So feed it well (at least most of the time!) and moderate your intake of junky fare.