All the Time, Sometime, Almost Never

After reading a few of my posts, I can see how some may mistakenly consider me a food Nazi.  To argue otherwise, I enjoyed my favorite desserts (yes that’s plural) on my previous trip to NYC and a few bites of my co-worker’s Lay’s Hot & Spicy Barbecue flavored potato chips last week.  Judging from my typical lunch of lentils and brown rice, my co-worker assumed that I don’t eat chips, so he didn’t bother offering. However, I hadn’t had potato chips in over 6 months, so to his surprise, I was due for a few bites!  I further described the beginning days of my not-so-healthy, vegetarian lifestyle during high school filled with French fries and snacks such as potato chips.  

Over time, processed snack foods have become fewer and fewer in my diet.  Similar to your own, my journey to a healthier, more varied eating lifestyle is evolving, and I have been on mine for 10 years now! As time has progressed, my “Sometime” foods such as those mentioned above gradually became my “Almost Never” foods, and my once “Almost Never” foods such as nuts and lentils have now become my “All the Time” foods.  My family is transitioning to nuts like pistachios and almonds instead of our typical peanuts and sunflower seeds.  Likewise, we have expanded our meals from including cabbage and carrots to fresh kale greens and acorn and butternut squash.  Who knows, I might just find a tasty recipe with radishes and parsnips that I want to try!

Below is a list of foods categorized by “All the Time,” “Sometime,” and “Almost Never.”  As these names imply, “All the Time” foods should be eaten almost everyday, “Sometime” foods should be eaten perhaps once a week or fewer, and “Almost Never” foods should be virtually eliminated from your diet.  Take note of what “All the Time” foods you’re already eating (kudos to you!). Meanwhile, re-evaluate ways that you can cut back on some of the “Almost Never” foods and gradually only eat them sometimes and eventually almost never.

All the Time: Fruits (frozen or fresh), vegetables (frozen or fresh), nuts, beans, dairy products, whole grains (i.e., brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn, etc), fresh poultry, fish, eggs, olive oil for cooking.

Sometime: Homemade baked goods, 100% fruit juice, cheese, refined grains (i.e., rice, pasta, and bread), lean beef, pork, butter.

Almost Never (lovely image shown above): Fried foods, store bought baked goods, margarine, soda or other sweetened beverages (i.e., juice drinks and overly sweetened iced teas), cold cuts, processed snacks, frozen meals and meat products (i.e., ‘chicken’ patties, nuggets, etc.).

These are recommendations to strive for and that which you will eventually achieve.  As I have always emphasized, change is a process and transitioning will take time!

Notice that there are more foods in the “All the Time” category as opposed to the others.  And although I named basic food groups in some cases (i.e., fruit and vegetables), these groups include an array of different foods for you to explore.  Eating a healthful diet is not as restrictive as you may think, but it will take an open-mind!

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