Per the movie Forrest Gump, “Mamma always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gunna get.” It is a quote that those 80’s baby’s and older know well but have you ever thought about what that quote actually means? Think about it, when you open up a box of chocolates, think Russel Stover chocolates, there is this huge variety of chocolates and no matter how badly I want the chocolate with caramel in the center I somehow always pick the cherry filled. In life terms, things happen that we don’t expect and no matter how planned or careful we are there were always be hurdles.
For many of us, that hurdle may be eating healthy 80% of the time. My life is a great example of this. I am currently working anywhere from 50-70 hours a week, helping to plan a nutrition conference, planning my wedding that is but a few short weeks away while also trying to exercise, see my fiancé, and more all while trying to eat healthy. It is a constant challenge with Halloween candy every where I look and the ease-ability of ordering food when time just doesn’t seem like it is on my side. So when crazy schedules are at an all time high and breakfast, lunch or dinner barely makes it into your day, does it count?
I looked up the word “meal” to see what the definition was. Per dictionary.com, a meal is “The food served and eaten at one of the customary, regular occasions for taking food during the day, as breakfast, lunch or supper.” Now, I find this definition interesting with a lot of room for interpretation. If I normally eat breakfast between 8-8:30am but at times eat it at 7 or 10am is that still a regular occasion? Regardless, my “meals” are far from perfect. Yes, I have my standard breakfast, Greek Yogurt or an Omelet first but protein shake if I completely run out of time, it is fuel for my body regardless of the time it is consumed.
Mashed potatoes, green beans, steak, and a glass of milk may seem like a traditional meal but it is not the only type of meal per busy people’s lives. Convenient type foods, protein shakes, protein bars, frozen meals, snack packs, etc. can all play a role in being a “meal.” The goal, however, is to not make these convenient foods take the place of real food. Your body craves nutrients that you obtain by eating food that comes from it’s original state. Meaning, fresh, frozen or canned foods that are not highly processed does a body good. Consuming food like protein shakes or bars should not be regular occurrence as your body will be missing vital nutrients that you can’t get in many convenient type foods. Regardless of what that convenient food’s marketing tactics are, having to add supplements in the form of powders, bars or beverages do not provide the nutrients your body needs in the form they need them.
With that in mind, do note, these convenient foods do have a place as it is better to consume something than nothing at all, but do look at these items more as a supplement and “just in case” rather than a regular meal eaten at regular times. Instead, use “MyPlate” as a reminder of what your meals should strive to look like 80% of the time.