It seems that whenever anyone shares a recipe online, they feel the need to caveat the description with the term ‘healthy’.

For example, one I saw this morning on the insta of a veteran Bake Off contestant: “Here is my delicious, quick and easy, HEALTHY granola recipe”. It can’t just be a tasty recipe that others may enjoy for a variety of reasons. We have been conditioned to believe that unless food is considered ‘healthy’ then we should fear sharing it.

It bothers me that there is such an insistence to subscribe moral value to foods because that road leads to fear of food and shame around eating. So I wanted to share the many reasons why it is unnecessary and potentially problematic to describe any individual recipe as ‘healthy’:

🚩 Firstly, meals in isolation cannot be considered healthy or unhealthy. Nutrition is far more complex than that. Our diets are holistic and only when observed over the course of weeks and months can we possibly start to find patterns regarding health, but even that will vary depending on the individual.

🚩 Secondly, calling a meal ‘healthy’ is extremely subjective. It depends on what YOU deem health to mean in that context.

– Healthy for some may mean low calorie because in their mind, the fewer calories the better (which in my experience is rarely going to be the most nutritious of meals).

– A healthy meal for someone recovering from an eating disorder may be one that is more calorie dense or contains more carbohydrates.

– A healthy meal for a low income parent trying to feed a family on an extremely tight budget, will be the one that gives them the most amount of energy possible for the least expense.

– A healthy meal for someone who is doing a lot of physical training may mean high calorie for energy, high protein for muscle repair, high carbohydrates to aid muscle synthesis and replenish energy stores

– Healthy for someone with a chronic illness or with dietary allergies may been that it is low in or excludes certain ingredients that may cause them actual harm.

🚩 Finally, referring to foods as healthy is hugely judgemental and comes from a place of distorted privilege around food. Many people believe that food can only be healthy if it is organic and locally sourced etc. Which really means that it has a huge price tag. Sometimes these products are of better quality, but that doesn’t equate to them being healthier in the true sense of the word. Paying more for a product doesn’t make it healthier.

The healthiest way to eat is to develop a healthy relationship with food and healthy relationships are rarely based around hierarchy.

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