The 90/10 Rule


People have been asking me if I ever splurge on tasty treats and the answer is, yes – of course I do! I believe that the 90/10 rule is perfect for adults and children alike. And it’s simple to follow: 90% of the time (maybe a little more) I eat fresh, healthy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and 10% of the time I allow myself to indulge in some of my favorite treats, including donuts from Babycakes NYC, a handful of Kettle Brand chips, or some of my mom’s delicious cooking. When special occasions start to roll around (and I feel like they are always around!), I enjoy foods I love, but I don’t overindulge.

An easy way to follow the 90/10 rule is to let yourself have one treat a day (this sounds like a lot, but when your treat is not the worst thing in the world, it’s ok). Let’s say you have two parties to attend on a Saturday; if you indulge in a brownie at the first party, skip the cake at the second party. Make sure your plate is full of vegetables and fruit, and go for the healthiest food possible at both events of the day. The same is true for children: if kids have two parties to attend in one day and their favorite cupcakes will be at one event, but they know there will be cookies and ice cream at the second, they should pick one event to enjoy a special treat. If you are doing this occasionally (enjoying a decadent treat every once in a while, and not every day) that’s fantastic. I have gotten in the habit of making fresh smoothies at night and I’ve also gotten my friends and family to treat this fruit smoothie like a mini splurge – even though it only has fruits, some vegetables (spinach and/or kale), and I don’t add dairy – amazing! I like to think of my smoothie as my dessert at the end of the day – it’s a fabulous, tasty, treat.

Note: I am vegan 100% of the time. In case you haven’t tried goodies from Babycakes NYC, they are vegan, gluten-free, and made with all-natural, organic, ingredients and are sweetened with agave (see what I mean about having a treat that’s not so bad?!). As for the Kettle Brand chips that I love, I try to grab ones that don’t have too many ingredients, but again, I still splurge every once in a while. For Easter this year I made a vegan quiche, and even though I used yummy ingredients, I still considered it a splurge.

I also love chips and salsa. Whole Foods sells delicious, fresh salsa and I’ll have that with vegetables such as carrots and celery when I am on track with 90% of my diet, but when I am splurging, I enjoy this salsa with veggie scoops. Instead of a cheat treat once in a while, you could have a cheat meal once a week. Let’s say you absolutely love burgers from the Veggie Grill; you can decide on a day that you’d like to eat there, and that can be your cheat meal for the week. Try not to overindulge in foods you love all in one day. It’s difficult to have a cheat day; instead, make it a special meal, or special treats that aren’t too bad for you. If you love ice cream, for example, I would encourage you to look for better alternatives, such as ice cream made with coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. It’s best to skip things like Snickers, Twix, and Doritos – these foods are packed with artificial colors and flavors and should not be a regular part of your diet. If you love chocolate, try switching to a delicious, dark chocolate (a cocoa content of 70% or more is ideal).

Additionally, I follow Dr. John Douillard’s advice and I have a big breakfast, a big lunch, and a small dinner (I’ll write more about this in another post, I promise!). On days that I want to splurge on something special, I usually enjoy it with breakfast or lunch. The idea is to be able to eat 3 meals a day without snacking; this works well for me and I feel that I have stabilized my blood sugar levels and that’s why I’m able to just have three meals, with dinner being the smallest of them all. I usually work out after lunch, so getting most of my calories before my workout is perfect for me.

I hope this helps to answer some questions about what I eat and whether or not I enjoy an occasional treat – I do – and you should, too!

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