Is it possible to eat healthy food and indulge yourself from time to time? And is it wise and effective to add health benefits to bread, patisserie, pastry and chocolate. We asked dietician and founder of nutrition agency Eat Well Global (EWG) Julie Meyer to give her opinion on this topic.
‘Being healthy has always been important to people. But the concept of how to get healthy has changed. Before, when people wanted to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, they simply went on a diet to lose weight. But what we experience is that people nowadays are getting convinced of the idea that (crash) dieting is not a sustainable healthy solution. It’s more about general health and wellbeing: people want to replace their eating habits by more healthy ones. And therefore, education is key.’
‘People are puzzled. They don’t now which foods are healthy and which are not. And therefore find it difficult to make healthy choices. In the US a growing number of people is developing healthy eating plans, but they need help to do so. With my company I like to show enterprises and professionals that it’s worth investing in communication about health. In the United States, but especially in other countries where the importance of health choice is not so eminent yet. In China, India and Indonesia for example.’
Portion size or added health
‘Except education portion size is key in improving a healthy lifestyle. That’s where nutritionists and dieticians all over the world strongly believe in. I think that we’re moving away from the idea that in order to have a healthy eating plan, all consumed foods should have a health property to them. This doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t help to eat chocolate with added health benefits. Chocolate should be chocolate. It’s the smaller portion size and consumption frequency that makes a healthier diet.
The level in which adding health benefits is embraced, varies from one region to another. In the United States it’s very common, there they have a tendency to add additional ingredients. In energy bars for example. I agree with it when it makes sense, like the addition of pro biotic to yoghurt or fibre to bread. People fancy what’s trendy, like chia seeds currently for example. ‘There will always be a desire for ‘new’ super foods or healthy ingredients. But in food we are going back to basics. This is a continuing trend. Therefore I should say to companies: go back to the basics of your product, exploit the intrinsic value of the ingredients and keep it really simple.’
Dietician and founder of nutrition agency Eat Well Global (EWG).