Nutrition 101

Do You Know the 80/20 Rule?

One of the most helpful concepts for life and time management, the 80/20 rule, aka the Pareto Principle, suggests that 20 percent of activities will account for 80 percent of results. With that said, applying the 80/20 rule to eating can lead to positive results with respect to food choices and overall health. 

The 80/20 rule encourages balanced eating, but also allows those foods traditionally avoided on most diets. The 80/20 rule eliminates that “all-or-nothing” mentality that can lead to failure and stresses food as an opportunity to nourish your body. If the 80/20 rule is something that interests you, the following tips may be helpful to incorporate this practice into your lifestyle. 

  1. Pay Attention: Use this seasonal transition into fall along with the “slowed-down” Covid-pace to evaluate your eating habits and lifestyle. Focus on where you are and where you would like to be. Set reasonable goals for yourself and your family with respect to food and nutrition. 
  2. Be Realistic: Remember, one meal does not make or break a diet. It is what you eat day to day, week to week and month to month that counts. By incorporating the 80/20 rule, you may be more likely to plan out healthy meals, recognizing it is okay to enjoy a dessert without overindulging. 
  3. Invest in Yourself: With meal planning and prepping, healthier options will be readily available. This makes the 80/20 rule easier to stick with and may limit excuses for poor food choices. Use myplate.gov to help plan healthy meals that consist of whole grains, lean/plant-based proteins, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. 
  4. Indulge a little: With the 80/20 rule, potato chips are ok with a sandwich, just watch the portion size. Go for a cup of ice cream, not a bowl. Some find calorie counting helpful, limiting their “20%” to a certain number of calories a day. For example, if aiming for 1800 calories/day, 1440 calories should be clean, whole foods and up to 360 calories might be items considered a treat, like alcohol, sweets or a “less healthy” food option. 
  5. Never Stop Learning: Whether measuring and weighing foods for portion sizes, finding new ways to enjoy a favorite dish or experimenting with new cooking techniques, it’s all good. Share knowledge, recipes and favorite websites with friends and family and they can share with you. 
  6. Be Honest: It is still important to practice moderation and portion control with the 80/20 rule. Any indulgences need to be a reasonable rather than a free-for-all “all-you-can-eat” scenario. 
  7. Keep it Up: The 80/20 rule is a livable diet style and it works for kids and adults. It allows for all foods in moderation, without the guilt. The 80/20 rule offers an opportunity to eat what you enjoy - but does not provide excuses to binge eat “junk” food. It empowers individuals to make choices, helping to avoid disordered thoughts about food and body image. 

According to our Experts, there are meal-planning tips & suggestions so you’re not in the kitchen all day long while the entire family is home! Click here to read what they are!

Plant Based Eating