Health and Fitness

How to eat healthily – and not stress about it

By Christine Kenny at

This is the second in a three-part series of expert columns from Altrincham-based dietitian Christine Kenny. You can find the first column here.

There are so many confusing dietary messages it can be hard to know just what to eat for good health.

I’m all about having a positive relationship with food. I don’t believe we should label food as good, bad, clean, dirty, healthy or unhealthy. Labelling food this way promotes negative connotations, and promotes guilt, confusion and worryingly increasing numbers of disordered eating.

There are many misconceptions as to what makes a diet healthy. Some people promote and believe their diet to be healthy because they have cut out certain foods. Others only eat foods that they believe can somehow change their body’s pH or metabolism.

But does this mean they are healthy?

If they worry about what they can and can’t eat, avoid meals out and celebrations, have ‘cheat’ days and feel guilty or binge, feel like they’ve ‘blown it’ when they slip up, or if food becomes a struggle and lacks pleasure, then the answer is no, they are not healthy. Stress and anxiety are not healthful traits.

Unless someone has a medically diagnosed allergy or intolerance, there is no quality evidence or in-depth studies to suggest that cutting out food groups can improve health.

There are some foods we should eat less of, and some we should eat more of. We know for example that foods rich in refined carbohydrates and fats, when eaten in excess to calorie requirements, will cause weight gain and that these foods are not rich in the nutrients the body needs to perform and grow.

Even so, these foods can be included in a healthy diet they are not going to harm us if taken in moderation.

If you would like to include all foods in your diet and not stress about gaining weight or being unhealthy, try doing the following:

  • Make sure most of your diet is, rich in vegetables, fruit, adequate protein, healthy fats/oils, wholegrain carbohydrates and dairy. Try to have a wide variety of these foods
  • Cook from scratch as much as possible
  • Try to be active every day
  • Be mindful about what you are eating – avoid snacks and grazing on food
  • Keep the high calorie, nutrient poor foods in moderation. – plan them into your day/week
  • Keep alcohol to recommended guidelines and have 2-3 days’ alcohol free each week

Most of all, enjoy your food.

For more information about Christine Kenny Nutrition and Fitness, see www.ckennynutrition.co.uk. You can also email her direct at enquiries@ckennynutrition.co.uk or phone 0161 941 6455 or 07772 179 587.

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