WebMD BlogsFood and Fitness

What is 'High-Value' Eating?

nutritious-food
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD - Blogs
By Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RDRegistered dietitianMay 21, 2021

Labels are in right now when it comes to eating: keto, paleo, vegan, clean. Trouble is, so many of those labels bring with them a rigid set of rules and off-limits foods that can take the joy out of eating.

So in her new book Good Food, Bad Diet, dietitian Abby Langer shared her own label to describe a nourishing, satisfying way to eat that doesn’t come with strict rules: “high-value” eating. She says it’s doable and customizable, and adds to your life instead of taking away from it.

Here are a few of her 10 tenets of high-value eating:

Be a Pencil, Not an Eraser

Have you taken foods out of your diet over the years, including foods you used to enjoy? Nixing something because of an allergy or intolerance is one thing, but cutting it out because a fad diet tells you to is another. “A lot of what people take out of their diets are foods that are very physically nourishing like beans and lentils, dairy products, and whole grains,” Langer says. (Read Should You Try a Lectin-Free Diet?)

Even foods that aren’t as physically nourishing, like sweets, shouldn’t be off-limits.  Langer says when you allow for all foods in your life, you can start to fix your relationship with food, your body, and your eating.

And if, at first, you eat more of those once-forbidden foods? Things will fall into place, Langer says. Think about how you crave lighter meals after heavy fare at the holidays, or how certain foods lose their luster after you have them repeatedly. “It's about finding that balance of nourishing yourself physically as well as emotionally,” she says. “99.9% of people are not going to eat cake all day long just because they can.”

Be Intentional and Quiet That “Diet Voice”

No more “good foods” and “bad foods.” No more guilt when you eat pasta or feeling deprived but superior when you order a salad instead of the sandwich you really wanted. Eating should be a peaceful experience, Langer says.

If you end up occasionally overeating and feeling overfull, don’t judge yourself. Instead, acknowledge that you’re a normal eater. Normal eating is about eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and choosing mostly foods that support health -- but also understanding that sometimes we overeat (or choose foods simply because it tastes good), and it isn’t a reason for shame.

Be Flexible

An unexpected dinner out or spontaneous plate of cookies from a neighbor shouldn’t stress you out or derail your day. If you’re on a diet plan that forces you to have specific foods at specific times of day, it’s not going to work in the real world and is probably making you constantly anxious and on guard, Langer says. Trust yourself to go with the flow when you need to, knowing you can always balance it out.

 

Photo Credit: Aamulya/iStock via Getty Images

WebMD Blog
© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD

Sally Kuzemchak is a registered dietitian in Columbus, Ohio. An award-winning reporter and writer, Sally has been published in magazines such as Health, Family Circle, and Eating Well and is a Contributing Editor to Parents magazine. She is the author of the book The 101 Healthiest Foods For Kids. She blogs at Real Mom Nutrition, a "no-judgments" zone all about feeding families.

More from the Food and Fitness Blog

  • weight scale illustration

    How to Handle Pandemic Weight Gain

    At the doctor’s office recently, the nurse weighed me and said, “That’s five pounds heavier than last time you were here.” I was taken aback--not by the news, but that she’d actually made the comment ...

  • hot tea

    7 Facts About Tea That May Surprise You

    Judging from our local coffee shop’s drive-thru line, coffee dominates the morning caffeine scramble for a lot of people. But tea actually outshines coffee worldwide ...

View all posts on Food and Fitness

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More