Ever wondered what a nutritionist eats in the day? Or a yoga teacher? Seeing what fitness and healthcare professionals eat can be inspiring. However, the concept of “eat like me, look like me” doesn’t often ring true.
If you’ve not heard of these videos and posts before, they post everything that someone eats in a day. This can include everything from meals to snacks and nibbles. Often, these posts are made by people in the health and fitness industry. This food diary is shared on blog posts, YouTube videos or social media -with TikTok being a growing platform alongside Instagram. Whilst what I eat in a day posts can be helpful for inspiration, say, if you’re switching to a vegan diet and need recipe ideas, it can become prescriptive. When you try to emulate what someone else eats, you ignore you hunger cues.
When someone who is in a position of influence -maybe a PT, nutritionist, or wellness blogger -shares what they eat, regardless of intention, it can give the impression that you should also eat that way. The videos may not be representative of your needs and goals. Their activity levels and metabolic rate may be higher than yours. They could be aiming to gain or lose weight. You might have different allergies or intolerances. More to the point, just because someone who looks good on the screen is eating one way, it doesn’t mean it is healthy. I’ve said it before, but enthusiasm doesn’t equal expertise. And nutrition is a really complex science with no single way to eat.
Of course, you can also get positive inspiration from these virtual diaries too. Getting new recipe inspiration is great to get out of a rut or if you’ve had to change your diet. And it can be great seeing what people eat in other countries, or scoping out cafes in cities you plan on traveling to. And of course, not all what I eat in a day content is about healthy eating, or comes from someone who is perceived to be healthy.
So here’s what I can share with you about my day on a plate. My meals are based on a variety of fruit and vegetables, aiming to get a mix of leafy greens, root veg, non-starchy veg, legumes and cruciferous vegetable most days. I buy frozen berries to eat them cheaply year round, bananas for smoothies, and more local fruit like apples for snacks. Most of my meals contain wholegrains. But I also eat cakes, cookies and desserts. And I love chocolate. I keep baked beans in the cupboards at all times for an easy lunch. Likewise, eggs are an easy base for a protein-rich lunch whilst working from home. On evenings, I drink wine and gin and sometimes whisky. I don’t often skip meals, butI sometimes eat at odd times. I eat some meals made from scratch and others from packets.
Whilst these posts may have their place, only seeing what people who’s job revolves around a healthy lifestyle can skew your perception of what is normal. As someone with a degree in nutrition, sharing what I eat in a day risks perpetuating an dietary ideal. Really, there isn’t a one size fits all approach.