Is This Healthy?

Nov 3, 2021
Healthy Eating

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not a particular food item is a good choice, consider that sometimes the best answer lies in the next question you could ask yourself: compared to what?  

A client once asked me, "Are canned green beans a good choice?" Well, I thought...compared to what? Pepperoni pizza? Absolutely. Fresh picked from the organic garden? Not as much.  

While it would’ve been easy to say, “Yes! Canned vegetables are a great choice, go for it!”  I would argue there’s value in being less absolute in how we assess our food choices, especially when I think in terms of behavior change.  

As people are attempting to upgrade their diet, there are a few challenges that routinely show up. We can mindlessly slip back to default choices (a.k.a. our current habits) and default choices because a ‘best’ choice isn’t an option. “Since there are no leafy greens on the menu, then I might as well order chili cheese fries.”   

Stopping long enough to ask yourself, “Are chili cheese fries a good choice? Hmm...compared to what?” could be just the pause you need to make a different decision about your options, or at least to feel better about it! Because here’s what we know about NOT feeling good about our choices: it doesn’t inspire us! And, inflexibility around what’s best is all some need to never really pull the trigger on making small changes that will make a big difference over time. Is there a scenario where chili cheese fries are the best choice one could make? There might be! (Have you seen Carnival Eats?!) But there’s also a pretty good chance there’s another choice you aren’t seeing.  

The truth is, there aren’t many scenarios in which we have only one of two choices between the chili cheese fries or the concoction that is three meals in one, deep-fried, and served on a stick. More often than not, it’s going to be a choice between the chili cheese fries and...the pretzel, or the fruit cup, or half a baked potato topped with ½ cup of chili or...waiting until you get home and eating those greens you bought with no plan.  

For those who see this as the perfect loophole for justifying all those favorite indulgences, not so fast! This doesn’t diminish the health impact that eating chili cheese fries — or anything else of a certain nutritional ilk — in abundance, would have on one’s health. The question isn’t so much a way to rationalize your food choices. Rather, it is a new way to think about food choices and make intentional decisions that support your goals, which will always be a win over maintaining the status quo as you continue to analyze or wait for the ‘best of the best’ option in front of you.  

Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!

– Jeanne Torre, MSW, LCSW, NBC-HWC

Health Advisor | Email Jeanne

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