So I’m at my favorite coffee shop the other day getting settled in for my morning routine of coffee, a snack, and some writing. I go up to the counter and order a coffee and a muffin. The girl behind the counter kinda knows me now and was even helping me count glasses of water a few weeks ago when I was experimenting with a water load. The point is she has some idea that I’m involved in health/fitness/working out as a career and thinks I’m ‘into health’ or something like that.
So when I simply ordered a muffin and coffee she responded with this statement “Don’t you want to add a fruit salad to that to make it healthy?”
To which I replied “oh that’s not necessary, I’m just gonna rip the top off the muffin and eat it, and throw out the bottom”
After I said that I got a lecture about being wasteful and starving people etc…as if my overeating on muffins and fruit salad is somehow going to solve the worlds food problems.
The moral of the story is that the prevailing mentality is that you can add more food and thus more calories to a meal in order to somehow make it more ‘healthy’.
Lets just look at the two options.We’ll take her option first.
She was suggesting I have a coffee (approx 100 calories) + a full muffin (approx 400 calories) + fruit salad (approx 150 calories) for a grand total of 650 calories for my morning snack.
My suggestion was to have a coffee (100 calories) + half a muffin (approx 200 calories) for a grand total of 300 calories for a very satisfying morning coffee and snack.
This is a classic example of the gap in understanding between what really matters when it comes to health, weight loss, and looking and feeling your best.
We cannot simply add more ‘healthy’ items to a meal to offset the supposed ‘unhealthy’ ones.
The total calories will always matter more than what those calories are comprised of.
This is to say nothing about the fact that I was not intending to eat only muffins and coffee all day. For my preference on that particular day, a coffee and half a muffin is exactly what I wanted and it fits with my health/fitness goals. There was plenty of time and opportunity for me to get my fill of veggies, fruit, and other higher fiber and so called ‘healthy’ items later that day.
The point is there is no perfect foods to eat, or perfect meal combinations to have. If you want a muffin go ahead and have one. If maintaining a particular body shape/weight/size/look matters to you then perhaps you need to pay attention to how many muffins you eat, or how big they are (in which case you can use the muffin top only technique) instead of either eliminating them all together or even worse, adding even more food to your muffin snack just to make it seem healthier.
In the end total calories and how much you exercise is going to affect your overall health to a far greater degree than a complicated and calculated mix of ‘the right foods’.