Nowadays, it is inevitable to cross paths with ridiculous (but interesting and sometimes tasty) food choices while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a Dietitian, I understand that for most of us it is impossible to steer clear of such foods. Which is why it is important to never feel guilty about trying out tasty foods even if it is of low nutritious quality. Trying out new food choices at Toronto’s 2016 Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) was a very interesting experience as I have never been to the CNE before (sorry Toronto, it is only my first year here). In this post, I share a deeper insight to my interview with the Globe & Mail as well as some extra tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying these new food options. In case you missed it, the video is linked at the top of this post.
The CNE is once a year!
After speaking to several clients who are big fans of the CNE, it is my understanding that food vendors at this annual event try to make outrageous menu options as part of the whole CNE “adventurous” theme. While I understand that these foods might seem appealing to some and off limits to others, it is important to not feel guilty if you enjoyed some of them. Feeling guilty will feed into negative behaviour and set you up for failure. Always be positive with food regardless of nutrition quality.
Focus on the rest of the day
An important cornerstone to my philosophy towards a healthy lifestyle is “don’t let the past dictate the future”. It is fine to indulge every now and then as long as you don’t let it affect the rest of your day or week. Make sure you fill the day with more nutritious food choices such as salads, fruits and whole grains. Here is one of our favourite salad recipes: strawberry balsamic vinaigrette salad. Making healthier options throughout the day will always help you maintain a healthy weight.
Don’t focus on calories, focus on nutritious quality!
Focusing on calories could be a major mistake. It is fun to know the caloric content of certain meals however it is important to keep in mind that nutritious quality is far more important than calorie content. Focus on whole foods with simple ingredients from plants, whole grains and lean meats. These are the best indicators of nutritious quality.
Build independent systems, not dependent ones
Exercising and living an active lifestyle should be independent of food choices. Do not feel obliged to exercise because you ate a “Philly Steakclair”. Instead, you should exercise because you enjoy it! Exercising to burn off food could set you up for failure, it builds dependent systems and the possibility that if one system fails, the other follows. Independent systems are stronger because if one suffers, the other remains strong.
So what do deep fried cookie dough balls have in common with a salad?
You probably guessed it by now: they can both be part of a healthy lifestyle. You can afford to cheat every now and then as long as you make healthier options for the rest of the day. Share the deep fried cookie dough balls with friends or family instead of having a whole serving alone. Finally, remember to always go for cheat meals not cheat days!
Enjoy the CNE and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch with us or another Registered Dietitian.
Mohamed Rezk, RD