8020 Approach to Clean Eating

Camping and the 80:20 Approach to Clean Eating

This afternoon I returned home from a fantastic camping trip with my sister and her family. We have had the most amazing time. I can highly recommend Wellington Country Park near Reading, to anyone with young children!

We arrived home earlier today, grubby, tired and very happy. I think we managed pretty well for food, although quite a lot of lovely (not remotely clean) ice cream was consumed by all!

My sister, my brother-in-law and I (of course) all follow a clean eating lifestyle. I practice an 80:20 approach to clean eating. 80% of the time I eat clean, almost all of my main meals are clean, most of my daily snacks are clean. 20% of the time I eat ‘off plan’. This allows me to indulge in my desires for dark chocolate, white wine and the occasional gin and tonic. It also allows me freedom and flexibility on special occasions and holidays.

On this holiday, I took clean wholemeal pitta breads, clean-eating Dalfour jam and bananas for breakfasts. We barbequed in the evenings and chose well in the pubs and cafes that we ate out in. Salads, grilled meats, lean fish, jacket potatoes …. I think it’s pretty easy to eat clean when you’re out and about these days.

Because I am so completely confident in the quality of 80% of my diet, I don’t remotely sweat the 20%. Having eaten this way for several years now, my 20% treats are rarely greasy junk food or sugar filled sweets. Eating this type of food doesn’t make me feel great and I enjoy it less and less. I have the taste for real food now, and junk food simply doesn’t do it for me anymore.

The 80:20 approach to clean eating is very common and I encourage it. I think that it makes the lifestyle much more sustainable and in my book, this is the key to eating clean for good health.

Let’s say your favourite junk food treat is that famous brand of takeaway fried chicken. Is it clean? No. Does it contribute to your good health? Nope! But does an occasional treat like this do you harm? Not too much. It is much better to indulge yourself on the odd occasion and eat good foods (which do contribute nutritionally to good health), the rest of the time.

The chances are, the longer you practice clean-eating, the less enjoyable those occasional forays into junk food will be. But if that doesn’t happen to you, I say enjoy your occasional treats mindfully, and eat well on the days around your treat.

We all understand the importance of good food. But if you’re so strict that you don’t allow yourself a Marshfield ice cream in the height of summer, by a shimmering lake, while camping with your children, then perhaps you need to take a step back and regain some perspective.

I’m back on it this week though and I have some more great recipes coming your way :) 

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