Do You Eat Like Bear Grylls or Matt Preston?

Do You Eat Like Bear Grylls or Matt Preston?

Do you evaluate your food choices more for nutrition or taste?

Hopefully you’ll never be in a situation where you’ll have to eat one of those disgusting high protein survival grubs that Bear ate. When he’s out in the wild, he eats for nutrition alone, whatever it takes to survive. And recently Masterchef’s Matt Preston has embarked on a health and weight loss program with trainer Amelia Burton because his taste for delicious food was affecting his health. These are two very different people who evaluate food in different ways.

So, when you look in the fridge, shop at the supermarket, or plan your weeks menu’s how do you evaluate and plan your choices? Are you more Grylls or Preston? Have you ever thought about it? My challenge to you in this post is to work out your own criteria or values for how you choose food and post it in the comments below.

Consciously knowing your food evaluation criteria will make ordering from menu’s, shopping and planning dinner a breeze!  And, you’ll be able to notice if some of your criteria is not serving you in your weight loss efforts.

The truth is, if you’re eating more for taste alone, you may struggle with your weight, if you don’t have an active lifestyle and a natural taste for healthy foods.

Now this is a continuum of choice from Taste to Nutrition. It’s not strictly either / or. You probably fall somewhere in the middle, or tend slightly more to one side or the other. Find out where you fall with the answer to this question: Would you choose to regularly eat / drink something that tasted bad if you knew it was really good for you?

Here’s my own personal criteria for my food. More Nutrition-y…

  • Each meal contains 3 or more vegetables or fruits of different colours, raw, lightly steamed, or stir fried
  • Limited portion sizes 1-3 fistfuls maximum. (1 for a snack, 2 for a meal)
  • Produce is organic where possible
  • Contains at least 30% protein: tofu, egg, lean meat, legumes etc
  • Any meat is free range, ethically farmed and lean.
  • Contains 20 – 30% good fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts
  • Only complex carbs, no simple, refined and processed carbs.
  • Seasoned with herbs, for taste.
  • Limited salt & sugar, and fat.
  • Contains some healthy additives like flaxseed oil, Spirulina, Chia Seeds,  LSA
  • (P.S I am not a nutritionist, this is just how I do it!)

I had never really thought about this before writing this post and now realise 90% of my meals follow this criteria; To the point where I will make weird salads and odd combinations of mush bowls (like a tin of salmon, corn, beans, mashed sweet potato and avocado) when I am eating for myself. The other 10% of the time accounts for some cookies, chocolate or a creamy gourmet pasta my husband makes for dinner.

This whole idea is underpinned by that old commonly held belief that healthy food is not tasty and unhealthy food is. (I’m hearing Homer Simpson singing: “You don’t make friends with Sal-Ad!”)

“Au contraire” I say!

Healthy food can be very tasty. And lots of unhealthy food tastes like crap. Which is a matter of opinion, of course. (That was mine.)


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Make Healthy Food Taste Better

The thing is, your tastebuds are very obedient. They will adapt to like whatever food you give them consistently.  They will also adapt  according to the thoughts you choose to think about the food you are eating. You have the power to make your food more or less “tasty” by imbuing it with mental and emotional meaning.

Here’s some examples:

To make vegetables or fruit more tasty you can imagine you are eating the pure energy of the sun and it’s filling up your body with light.

Or to make meat less tasty you could think about the slaughter process, or animal cruelty.

To make doughnuts less tasty you could think about how it clogs your artery veins, how the sugar is like poison in your body making you age faster, giving you wrinkles and the white flour causing constipation. Ick.

If you invest some time learning about nutrition and the effect that different foods have on your body you will begin to shift your perceptions toward nutrition and improving health. There is loads of nutritional information online, in books  and magazines about the essential nutrients in certain fruits and vegetables. Learn a little bit about it, and your body will thank you.

Discover Your Food Evaluation Criteria.

  • Think about your meals, What you choose to eat and like to eat.
  • What are the consistent characteristics of those meals?
  • When you are making food just for yourself, what do you choose to eat?
  • How do you choose the ingredients?
  • How do you choose to cook it?
  • How many vegetables?
  • What approximate ratio of Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat?
  • Is it salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy, natural? Does that not matter?
  • What matters to you most to you about your food?
  • What matters least?
  • Write down everything you can think of and then put them in a hierarchy, ordered from most important to least.
  • Then assess your criteria.
  • Does this serve you?
  • Are you happy with it?
  • Would you like to change it?
  • What would you like to add?
  • What would you like to take away?
  • Imagine going out into the future with this new way of choosing food, and making meals for yourself, does this work for you and serve you better?
  • Let that new criteria lock into place.

Join the conversation.

What’s your food criteria?  More taste, or more nutrition?
Do you disagree with me? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Comments (8)

  1. I thought this was going to be whether I ate my food running from a heard of angry elephants or whether I told the Chef “this lacks imagination and you’ll never work at Aria” I think I make good food choices, but I have portion control problems, I make great salads and have lots of vegies and greens. But I don’t know how much to eat, I get confused, because it’s healthy I can eat alot of it, the more the better! Will you put up an article about how much should we eat? I think my lifestyle is very active and I go to the gym 5 times a week, and I’m feeling like I’m doing the right things but I’m getting something wrong…

    • Haha… I didn’t think of the contexts that they eat in!!

      I think you’re not the only one who has this problem, I know I did all those years ago when I was overweight and working at a gym. Eating really healthy food, but in giant portions, since I was eating healthier than I had previously, I did get a bit slimmer, but not much. Not until I sorted my portions out.

      One way to really get clear on your correct portions is to get your Basal Metabolic Rate measured, (that’s how much energy you burn just by being alive), The most accurate is with a DEXA body fat scan, then keep your energy intake at or just under that level, and exercise to create a deficit. The most precise way to to this is calorie counting, with specific healthy recipes. Michelle Bridges’ cookbooks are a good place to start for nutritionally balanced, calorie controlled menus. I am not a fan of calorie counting forever, but it can be very useful if your portions are out of control. Weigh everything for a few weeks following specific recipes until you learn the size of the right portion for your body, exercise level and goals.

      The best way to do this is with the advice and guidance of a qualified nutritionist / dietician who can help you create a menu plan that takes into account your goals, lifestyle, metabolism, body type, activity levels, etc. (which I most certainly am not, though I’ve picked up some tips along the way.) I’ll talk to my dietician friends and get another post up about this in more detail soon…

  2. Hi Kyles…wow, great article! I couldn’t have put it better myself. The only things I would add to it is:
    * Eat approximately 50% raw foods and 50% slightly cooked.
    * If you are adding salt to your meals, make sure that all the ingredients you are adding to your meals are fresh and not prepared so you aren’t overdoing it. The best salt to add is celtic sea salt…contains essential minerals.
    I will post something now giving a guide to portion sizes of most foods.

  3. Portion sizes:
    This is the one area that many people need to improve on as most people are eating more or less than their body needs. You could be eating all the right foods, but just too much or too little (effecting your basal metabolic rate). This will impact on your results and your personal goals to get healthy, lose body fat and improve energy levels.

    The general rule for portions per meal of these foods are:
    • Meat and chicken – your palm size
    • Fish fillet – slightly larger than palm or whole hand if it is a thin piece of fish.
    • Eggs – 1-2 whole eggs ( 2 if male or active female, 1 if inactive female)
    • Cheese (feta, goats cheese, cheddar) – 20-30 grams
    • Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese – 2-3 dessertspoons (less if you are combining it with another protein or another food higher in calories)
    • Nuts/seeds – a small handful (equivalent to ½ a handful – have no more than 1 handful per day or 2 x half handfuls)
    • Hummus or any other low fat dip – 2-3 dessertspoons (less if you are combining it with another protein or another food higher in calories)
    • Yoghurt – 2-3 dessertspoons (depending on whether you are having it on its own or not)
    • Fruit – 1 fist (your fist size) size or one piece (have 2 pieces per meal if you are an active person who is happy with your weight)
    • Veggies or salad – 2 fists (your fist size) – have more if are still hungry after eating your portion.
    • Bread – 1-2 slices (2 if active female or male – 1 if you are an inactive female)
    • Muesli – 1 small fist (more if you are an active male who is happy with your weight)
    • Rice/pasta/noodles/potato – 1 fist maximum
    It would be best to have 5 small meals per day to keep your metabolism firing. Eat every 2-3 hours and away from exercise. Try and include fruit or veg in every meal of the day. You would think it would a challenge, but it really isn’t if you plan your meals in advance and make them a priority.
    Hope this helps Kyles. X

    • Amazing Ames! Everyone, if you want portion advice Amy does a great consultation package with food diary follow up support to make sure you’re on track.. check out her link…

  4. I try and keep my Bear focus when shopping so as not to pack the trolley with all the sickeningly naughty sugars I would love to live on and instead find things that I find equally as decadent but happen to be healthy… My favourite is avocados… I could add them to anything and if you use a very fine grater you can add cheese to most things without using much up at all….makes for fabulously decadent tasting and looking sandwiches that with just one added protein are a perfect lunch x

    • I agree Tessa, me too. It’s really a matter of balance. I love avocados too! Yum.

  5. Pingback: One question to shift how you think about food. | My Mind Coach

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