While it’s true that some people need to follow a highly restrictive meal plan to manage a chronic condition, it’s also true that for many people, excessively restrictive meal plans can be counterproductive.
This is why I’ve always advocated for the “80/20 rule” when it comes to meal plans.
80% of the time, you stick with a completely clean, nutrient-dense plan, and 20% of the time, you can relax around these guidelines.
The exact ratio is not important—for many, it might be more like 90/10 or even 75/25, but the point is that most of us will benefit from some flexibility built into how we approach food.
For example, when I go away I try local cuisine and have few martinis and enjoyed some delicious desserts.
I have a great time eating these foods as it’s part of the fun—and the relaxation and stress relief that comes with it.
Another example is that a few times a month, I might have a couple of pieces of Zarta. I’m not gluten-intolerant, and my two boys love it and to be honest, I do too but limit on how much I consume.
It’s more like 85/15 for me, but again, the exact ratio doesn’t matter. It’s the flexibility and ease that counts.