Posted on May 15, 2017 by Jenny Cromack

Before I start this blog I should let you know that I follow a lot of leading nutritionists in the industry, so come across a lot of conflicting opinions and findings, as nutrition is still a fairly new area of study. I read an interesting post that stuck with me the other day by Nicola Whitehead, a registered nutritionist and dietitian who happens to be based in Leeds and most known for appearing on the TV show This Morning.

Nicola posted a blog asking the question “Is having a meal as a cheat meal really a healthy way to view food?

cheat meal

You see, I, like most will try to eat optimally 90% of the time with the remaining 10% being for these supposed chest meals or foods once a week. However, the phrase “cheat meal” has received criticism recently within the media and across nutritionists and dietitians, as it can be linked with psychological issues with foods and even eating disorders.

This has become a movement within the industry as the phrase “cheat” has negative connotations associated with it. Feelings of deceit, dishonesty, guilt and associating those foods as potentially “bad”, “naughty” or “unhealthy” which are not emotions we want to associate with food or an eating regime, so maybe we need a more positive phrase to use?

This links back to and previous post I wrote “there’s no such thing as bad foods, just bad portions” as I think it’s important to build foods that we enjoy into our lifestyle whilst still having a nutritious and balanced diet. Remember, healthy eating should be a lifestyle change not a short term fix.

Maybe considering calling it a ‘treat’ meal instead of cheat meal, would help alleviate any negative connotations associated with this one-off meal, as all food is there to be enjoyed on the odd occasion.

We should be conscious of how we approach foods and the terms we associate with certain meals. Although, another thought is that if we were to use the term treat, then surely nutritious can also be seen as treat in one way or another. Many people believe that a nutritious food isn’t tasty but this couldn’t be further from the truth, so your ‘treat’ meal doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad food either.

Anyway, until next time guys, enjoy your food aiming it be optimal for your health and other aspects of your life.