We’ve lost the middle ground

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For as long as I can remember my Opa has had a bowl of ice cream for dessert every night without fail.

For as long as I can remember my Opa has had a bowl of ice cream for dessert every night without fail.

As far as I’m aware the idea of dieting has never once crossed his mind. At almost 80 he’s keen to climb the Harbour Bridge – for the second time. The first time round he was 70.

So what does all this have to do with nutrition? Well, everything really.

In the numerous health articles and nutrition tips we come across, one thing often gets overlooked – enjoyment.

Unless you have a medical condition that prohibits certain foods, you can eat the foods you enjoy and still be healthy. Those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive.

My Opa wouldn’t have a clue what an acai bowl is, but he eats a variety of foods, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, grain foods, dairy and small portions of lean meat, plus a few sweets when he feels like it.

In a world of extremes and social media celebrities, sadly we have lost the middle ground. Often we are shamed into eating ‘clean’, a term that is laden with guilt (if you’re not eating clean does that mean you’re eating dirty?), or are bombarded with images of oversized meals.

Unfortunately moderation just isn’t sexy or marketable.

So how do we reclaim the idea of a balanced diet?

• Shift your focus away from diets/restriction. Rather than cutting a ‘bad’ food out, put a nutrient dense food in.

• Unfollow any ‘health gurus’ on social media who make you feel like you have to follow a certain diet.

• Recognise that it’s not what you’re eating but how much of it you’re eating that’s important. Reduce portions rather than trying to cut out the foods you love all together.

• If you feel that you may be using food as an emotional crutch, seek help from a health professional. Getting to the root of the problem is more likely to lead to positive health outcomes than following the latest fad diet.

• Get together with friends and family and enjoy your food!

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