Is “Healthy-ish” the Newest Food Trend?
So far in 2016, the trend of eating “healthy-ish” has been gaining some serious momentum. The January issue of Bon Appetit spotlighted “healthy-ish” eating and a PBS documentary with writer Michael Pollan (who also uses this term) has been getting attention. What does “healthy-ish” mean? What are the benefits of eating this way? I spoke with CBC radio personality Jason Osler on the topic (listen here) and he also did a writeup on our discussion for CBC news.
What is “Healthy-ish”?
“Delicious comforting home cooking that just happens to be kinda good for you” (Bon Appetit, Jan 2016).
Urban Dictionary: When something is sort of healthy.
Example of “Healthy-ish”:
When you cook at home with basic healthy ingredients and add a little extra something that’s not necessarily a “health food” but it increases your enjoyment.
Ex. Brussle sprouts with bacon
Ex. Air popped popcorn with melted butter and salt sprinkling
Ex. My favourite Grape & Feta Kale salad
Ex. Carrots and ranch dip
Ex. A D’Ambrosio family favourite growing up was breaded zucchini sautéed in oil…that’s “healthy-ish”!
My Top 10 Benefits of Eating “Healthy-ish”:
- Eating with positive feelings and not polarizing foods as “good” or “bad”.
- Chance to get creative with new recipes with the intention of healthy eating. We know those who cook their own meals tend to have healthier diets.
- Help to eliminate the “cheat day” because you don’t feel deprived during the week. Severe food restrictions tend to increase desire.
- You do not need to be “perfect” when following a nourishing diet. Small strides using the fundamentals of healthy eating work wonders.
- Enjoyment of your foods is key for long-term sustainability.
- Encourages kids (or adults) to try new foods – ex. Breaded cauliflower can be in a rotation with steamed cauliflower.
- Get back to the basics of healthy eating emphasizing a diet that is less processed and made with basic ingredients.
- Avoid focusing on calorie counting but instead on incorporating nourishing foods like avocado or nuts that offer enjoyment and nutritional benefit.
- Increases our confidence to continue to improve the nutritional value of our foods.
- Moving away from “all or nothing” mental sabotage to eating nourishing foods most of the time.
The problem with the “everything in moderation” approach is that people are often unsure where to draw the line for what is too much. There is still a “grey area” within “healthy-ish” with some dishes a lot more nourishing than others. As a dietitian, many of my clients come in to find out how they are doing with meeting their nutritional needs. It is important to keep in mind that the path to nourishing diets happens in small (or sometimes big) steps – and these are different for each person.
The goal of healthy eating, in my opinion, is to love your foods and have them be nourishing, delicious so that you can stick to this way of eating in the long-term! If you are a perfectionist, setting your intention on “healthy-ish” will give you some extra wiggle room. New habits take time to solidify so be kind to yourself during the process. You do not need to be “perfect” to eat well for your health and well-being.
Be sure to hashtag your “healthy-ish” home cooked meals on Instagram or let me know of some of your family favourites! I hope you enjoy this more moderate approach to healthy eating.