Finding Balance in Eating: “Have What You Want, Add What You Need”

by Aimee Wojtowecz

In the realm of nutrition and wellness, it’s crucial to strike a balance between enjoying what you love and nourishing your body effectively. The approach “Have what you want, add what you need” encapsulates this balance, making the journey of healthy eating enjoyable and sustainable. It’s like having your cake and eating it too, but with a side of veggies!

Many think that healthy eating implies strict diets or denying oneself favorite foods. However, it’s more about making informed choices and finding the right balance. Cravings are a real thing and they’re totally okay! Instead of denying them, we’re going to be smart about it. When you adopt the “Have what you want, add what you need” approach, you empower yourself to indulge in your cravings sensibly while still fulfilling your body’s nutritional requirements.

Cravings are a natural part of our relationship with food. Denying them outright often leads to binging or feeling deprived. Instead, let’s honor that, but in a way that aligns with your goals by acknowledging your cravings and finding healthier ways to accommodate them. If you’re craving something sweet, opt for a piece of fruit or a small portion of dark chocolate.

Once you’ve satisfied your cravings, focus on adding nutritious elements to your meal. Include a variety of colorful vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. These additions not only enhance the nutritional value of your meal but also leave you feeling satisfied and energized.

We’re not about diets; we’re about a lifestyle that’s sustainable. It’s about enjoying dinner with friends or savoring your favorite dessert while being mindful of what your body needs to thrive. It’s about being conscious of what you consume and making thoughtful choices that align with your goals and values.

“Have what you want, add what you need” encourages mindful eating. Listen to your body, understand its needs, and make choices that align with your overall wellness goals. Incorporating this approach into your daily routine can help you achieve your desired fitness levels, body composition, and performance in your training. It’s your body, your goals, and your taste buds—we’re just trying to find the delicious and nutritious middle ground.

What does this look like in real life?

Imagine this: you’re having a wonderful dinner at home. Your favorite part of the meal is pasta, specifically a rich and creamy Alfredo pasta. That’s what you want tonight, and that’s okay! Here’s how we’ll apply the “Have what you want, add what you need” approach to this meal.

Step 1: Honor Your Craving

You go for that creamy Alfredo pasta, a portion that leaves you satisfied and happy. It’s about enjoying your meal, not feeling guilty about it.

Step 2: Boost Nutritional Value

Now, let’s amp up the nutritional value. On the side, we’re adding a generous serving of mixed vegetables—broccoli, bell peppers, and spinach, maybe even a fresh side salad as well as a serving of grilled chicken. This addition is all about what your body needs: protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The Result: A Balanced Meal

You now have a beautifully balanced plate. The creamy pasta satisfies your taste buds and makes you feel content, while the veggies and salad provide essential nutrients and keep you energized. It’s a win-win!

Remember, finding that balance in your plate is key to a healthy and enjoyable journey. “Have what you want, add what you need” is like your nutrition best friend, reminding you that you can enjoy your favorite foods and still give your body what it craves for optimal performance.

So, let’s eat smart and enjoy the ride!