Is it so wrong to want to enjoy my food and to be healthy?

I guess that you are reading this because you are interested in keeping healthy. If your life is like mine, one minute you are at the football pitch enjoying watching your five year old scoring a goal, and the next minute you are back on the road travelling to visit your parents and so it goes on … Food and eating are often part of what we do every day but how often do we get the chance to really think about what we eat?

So is it so wrong to want to enjoy your food and to be healthy?

The answer to this question is no .. no.. no. It’s really important you do enjoy your food; very few pleasures in life match the pleasure of eating your favourite chocolate bar very, very slowly.

There is no such thing as healthy food

Is it important to eat healthy food? That’s a difficult question to answer because there is no such thing as ‘healthy food’. We do know that some of the nutrients that are in food are less healthy. Just to be boring for a moment, the science tells us that on the whole we British should eat:

  • Less fat, and particularly less saturated fat
  • Less add sugars
  • Less salt.

If we do eat less fat, sugars and salt is it worth it?

Imagine one of those TV programmes where you can see what you and your family will look like in 20 years time, if you are eating meals that are lower in fat, sugars and salt it’s highly likely that you will look:

  • Young & slim in 20 years time

On the plus side you are also less likely to have heart disease or diabetes.

But is it all worth it if I’m not enjoying my food

That’s the point, the Traffic Light labelling system was designed with simplicity in mind. It lets you look at the food you are just about to buy and you can tell immediately if the food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. That doesn’t mean that every time your favourite food comes up as having a red traffic light that you have to avoid it. It means that you now know what you are eating. Chocolate will always have red Traffic Lights for fat and sugar, other foods like curry will often have red Traffic Lights for salt. If you’d prefer not to know if your food has a red Traffic Light, look away and enjoy what you are eating.

So the message is, food, love it or loathe it, you can’t ignore it.

Food isn’t just about what you eat now, the tastes echo back to tastes in your past; meals with friends and family when you laughed and joked, meals shared with loved ones where you tried new food for the first time. Food is a whole raft of experience that you cannot boil down into food being good or bad. The best you can do is to know what you like, know what foods are high in fat, sugars and salt. Eat the foods that you like and aim to make choices of those foods that are low in fat, sugar and salt. Eating like this is a lifelong commitment – enjoy.