9 December 2014 Try the 80/20 Rule and Improve Holiday Eating!

You can start to create a healthier lifestyle today. Don’t wait until January 1st!

Start by asking yourself these two questions.

1. Do you strive for perfection and try to eat healthy 100% of the time?

2. Do you feel guilty and shameful if you give into that piece of peanut brittle or brownie at a business holiday party or eat red velvet cake and peppermint ice cream at your daughter’s birthday party?

Life is too short to ban foods that you love. By trying to eat healthy 80% of the time, there is room in your diet to feed your soul, and enjoy the pleasures of eating! Not only is the 80/20 rule appropriate during the holiday season, it is a great way to manage your weight throughout the whole year.

Here are some ways to apply the 80/20 Rule while shopping at the grocery store, organizing your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, ordering food at restaurants, and celebrating at holiday gatherings.

At the Grocery Store

Look in your shopping cart: Are 8 out of 10 foods bright, colorful and not processed? If more than 2 out of 10 foods are cream-colored, white and processed, exchange them for more natural foods before you leave the store. Focus on whole grains, low fat, low sugar and minimally processed foods. Spend most of your time in the fruits and vegetable section to create a rainbow in your shopping cart.

A great stocking stuffer idea is a coupon for a “Grocery Store Tour with a Dietitian”!

At Home

Examine the foods in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. What percentage of your foods are so processed that the ingredient list on the package uses words that your grandmother could probably not pronounce?

Are 8 out of 10 foods at home from the five food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy and low fat meat/beans/meat alternatives. You may need to free your home of some foods to create a wholesome household.

Offer yourself opportunities to eat nourishing and beneficial foods at home.

At Restaurants

Choose restaurants with meal options that support your eating goals. If the portions are too large, then ask for a “take home” bag right away, and pack it for a budget-minded lunch the next day.

Often at restaurants, I try to order fish or a vegetarian option to learn new ideas to cook at home.

At holiday or family gatherings:

Start by filling half of your plate with fruits or vegetables. These can be cooked or raw or hot or cold. After that, there isn’t much more room on your plate for other items.

On the buffet line, bring your clean knife and cut desserts in half even before you put them on your plate.

Last week while eating at a buffet in Spain, I wanted to try all of these new and interesting Spanish desserts, which I had never seen. With my clean knife, I cut the piece of cake in half on the buffet line before I put it on my plate. One needs just a taste of a sweet treat not 500 calories!

Advantage of 80/20 Rule:

With fewer restrictions you are less likely to cut whole food groups or deny yourself of any foods because you know that all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan. Of course, you need to control portion sizes of the 80% and the 20%. Just because low fat yogurt is healthy, doesn’t mean you should buy three, ½ gallon containers of yogurt per week and make “monkey milk” (a delicious smoothie of bananas, yogurt and milk) every day. Too much, even of a good thing, does not provide a balance in all of the vitamins and minerals that you need every day.

Changing your lifestyle sure beats yo-yo dieting. Try the 80/20 Rule today and celebrate the season with variety and moderation.

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Holidays / Parties/New Year's Holidays / Parties/Winter Holiday Season

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