We at Healthy Gourmet have talked with nutritionists, dietitians, clients, family and friends about leading a healthy lifestyle and the main obstacles that get in the way. The most common obstacle that everyone cites? Time management.
Somehow, the most important thing in maintaining a healthy body, a healthy nutritional diet, falls by the wayside in our busy days. The morning rush to get to work on time takes precedence over making sure you get a healthy breakfast (especially in Houston). From a nutritional perspective this is so backwards… wouldn’t we all have more productive work days if we took the time to eat a nutritious breakfast instead of a quick, sugary treat that leaves us in a slump an hour later?
Our Healthy Chat series guest, registered dietitian nutritionist Stephanie Ouellette, says time management is the main obstacle blocking her clients from eating better. Shopping and cooking healthy meals is difficult to squeeze into people’s schedule when there are so many quick food options out there. Hear what Stephanie has to say about nutrition, diet myths, cheat meals, and healthy food in this episode of Healthy Chats:
Owner of SO Nutrition
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Stephanie Ouellette: I consider myself to be a generalist. I don’t specifically target a certain disease state or issue medically I basically ask my clients what their goals are, what they’re hoping to accomplish when they’re coming to see me for my services. Do a comprehensive assessment and discuss strategies that we think can best help them to meet their needs, so I see all types of people such as diabetes cardiovascular disease, gluten intolerance, food allergies some people who are trying to improve their athletic performance through nutrition, you know so a variety of different types of people.
HG: What are the most common obstacles to leading a healthy lifestyle?
Stephanie Ouellette: I would say probably time management. Everybody is so busy that they really struggle sometimes to find time to fit in healthy eating, cooking, going to the store all of the fundamentals that go along with trying to eat healthier.
HG: What are some crazy diet myths that your clients have brought to you?
Stephanie Ouellette: Well I think the biggest trend right now is that carbohydrates are evil and really negatively impacting everyone’s health. I think carbohydrates get a bad name. Carbohydrate is in almost every food you eat. There’s a small amounts of carbohydrate, of course the carbohydrate content varies from food to food but it’s necessary for you to have carbohydrate in your diet to give you energy so you can maximize your performance during the day, whether that be an exercise routine, or just to have enough energy to be able to function. So a lot of people think that they need to restrict carbohydrates and not eat them at all and then they find that’s very difficult to maintain long-term and so then they feel like they fell off the bandwagon so then they’re a failure and so it ends up being a cyclic pattern and so what I encourage people to do instead of saying, “carbohydrates are the enemy,” is to say what are the healthiest carbohydrate sources that we can consume on a daily basis and focus on incorporating the healthy carbohydrates so that way then you get the proper fuel for your body and have a better balance and then achieve a better long-term plan as opposed to being on the diet rollercoaster.
HG: What is your opinion on cheat meals?
Stephanie Ouellette: The cheat meal I don’t recommend… cheat meals or cheat days. days. What I recommend is more of what I call a 90/10 approach, so I think 90% of the foods that we consume should be nutritious highly valuable foods that come into our body. 10% are for things like when you go to parties or you’re socializing with your friends for the occasional treat that you would like to have whether that be something that’s containing sugar or extra fat or alcohol those types of things and I think if people can keep that balance to 90/10 and not let that 10% grow into a higher percentage then they can maintain their health long term but still not feel deprived like they aren’t ever able to have that piece of cake at a party.
As you can see, Stephanie lays down the law about cheat meals to her clients. Though she does not recommend what is traditionally referred to as the “cheat meal”, Stephanie allows her clients a 10% margin so they don’t feel trapped in a no-fun diet, with an extreme case of FOMO. Her strict interpretation is warranted. As many of us can attest, 10% can easily expand into a generous 15 or 20% and before we know it, we’ve lost control of our eating habits. Its much more difficult to shed calories than consume them, and if those extra calories are coming from a nutritionally-empty source, you are creating more work for yourself. That’s why Healthy Gourmet ensures our prepared meals taste great in addition to providing you with nutrition, so you don’t feel the need to cheat on your meal plan.
Stephanie also sheds light on the carbohydrate myth. Carbs are not inherently bad, we just need to be mindful of their source and whether or not it has nutritional value. Empty carbs, like white bread, sodas, and processed snacks like chips and sweets provide the body with little-to-no fuel, while good carbohydrates such as natural, unprocessed whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are full of fiber and energy the body can put to good use. Carbohydrates are not the enemy, processed and artificial foods are!
Healthy Gourmet uses no artificial preservatives and no added, artificial sugars in our healthy prepared meals. Our meals also save you the time you would spend shopping and cooking, while getting you the nutrition, flavor and portions your body needs. It just makes sense to us, and we’re glad Stephanie and her clients agree!