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Why ‘Fun Foods’ should be part of your Food Plan

fun food

By Deborah Etienne-Ward

Food plans are usually composed of three meals and three snacks per day, no more than three hours apart. Food plans are an effective part of treatment because they result in less time thinking about food and counting calories or servings, less frequent binging and/or purging episodes, and more time spent on recovery (Herrin & Larkin, 2013). More information about food plans can be found here.

No foods are forbidden in food plans. Essentially, we need a balance to be healthy. It has even been recommended that ‘fun foods’, which include desserts and other so-called ‘junk food’ such as chocolate cake, be included at the end of lunch and/or dinner meals. You might be thinking “But chocolate cake will make me fat”. Well, it seems that having a ‘fun food’ after lunch and/or dinner meals is strategic (Herrin & Larkin, 2013).

Eating ‘fun foods’ after a meal puts a natural finish to the meal, and makes people feel satisfied (Herrin & Larkin, 2013). Research has suggested that the consumption of dessert results in less chance of engaging in binge eating following a high protein meal such as a chicken salad (Gendall, Joyce, & Abbott, 1999). By scheduling and allowing ourselves to have ‘fun foods’ we are less likely to crave ‘fun food’, be pre-occupied with thoughts about it, feel deprived, and binge eat (Herrin & Larkin, 2013).

From a health perspective, as long as our nutrient needs are being met by well-chosen foods during meals there is no health consequence to having a serve of ‘fun food’ each day (Herrin & Larkin, 2013). Of course, you should always consult your GP or nutritionist if you have any specific health concerns.

References

Gendall, K.A., Joyce, P.R., Abbott, R.M. (1999). The effects of meal composition on subsequent craving and binge eating. Addictive Behaviors, 24(3), 305-315.

Herrin, M., Larkin, M. (2013). Nutrition Counselling in the Treatment of Eating Disorders (2nd ed., pp. 107-139). New York: Routledge Press

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