How many times have we heard someone say, “I just ate a cookie and I ruined my diet”? “I just ate a piece of chocolate cake and I ruined my diet.” Does one sugary dessert “ruin our diet”? Hardly, yet so many people have the misconception they can’t enjoy a dessert or some sugary snack as it has dire consequences for “their diet”.
So what is the real story? According to most nutritionists, it is our overall diet that we eat day in and day out that is important. Some things to ask yourself?
- Did I eat breakfast?
- Did I eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables today?
- Did I eat some whole grains today?
- Did my meals follow the MyPlate food plan?
If so, you actually have a pretty good diet. Focus on getting the nutrients you need by eating healthy overall. If you answered the questions, YES, then you probably have a pretty good overall diet.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has an updated position statement on Total Diet Approaches to Healthy Eating. They state, It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. All foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity
Thus, if you eat an overall healthy diet, you can have room for some “junk food” and you can fit your favorite food into your “diet”. Your overall diet should focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, nuts and seed. Then use your discretionary calories for your favorite junk food snack, and enjoy every bite.
Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating, position paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics