Because a healthy diet doesn’t mean subsisting solely on leaves and the odd handful of seeds…
Food is so much more than fuel. It’s often a connection to your roots, a way to bring people together and a source of comfort.
But despite food being multifaceted, the way we eat (and in particular the notion of ‘eating well’) is something that’s often loaded with judgement.
There’s a lot of confusing messages around food – some from those in the know and some from those who just act like they are.
To break out of the salad cycle of food rules, we asked five women in the food industry what ‘eating well’ means to them…
1. The food stylist
Natalie Seldon has every foodie’s dream job: she creates recipes, styles food and gets to write about grub all day long.
So, what does someone surrounded by food 24/7 think about ‘eating well’?
“My own approach to food centres on balance rather than restriction,” she reveals.
“I’ll happily have that chunk of chocolate, but I also enjoy the empowerment of cooking at home as much as possible with good, simple ingredients using mainly plants and vegetables.
“It’s all about creating colour, texture and, most importantly, deliciousness on the plate.”
And a balance over a restriction state of mind means avoiding drastic measures in the name of ‘eating well’.
“Going to any extreme is not a sustainable way of living,” adds Seldon. “Instead, focus on sensible, flexible ways of eating well that can be incorporated into your life with joyful ease – day-to-day and over a lifetime.”
2. The food writer
Cook, writer and champion of sustainable and nourishing food Melissa Hemsley is passionate about food’s ability to boost your mood and your energy levels. But for her, eating well goes further than just your own plate.
“For me, it’s all about good food,” she explains.
“We could all eat more vegetables and a wider variety of dishes, so it’s about switching things up.
“That’s why batch-cooking is such a good idea. Take soup, for example. You can cook up a batch and then make it extra special when it comes to serving it by putting something crispy on top, like a crouton or some bacon.
“Then you can add a dash of flavour to something you batch-cooked and take it from bland to delicious. Whether you’re vegan, veggie or gluten-free, you just need to add a bit of Tabasco Green Sauce, and suddenly things are so tasty!
“It’s the perfect, piquant hit of zestiness, and it really livens dishes up.”
So, there you have it – an easy solution to banishing boring veg and making your greens extra tasty, from avocado on toast to pea soup.
3. The restaurateur
While phrases like ‘eating well’ and ‘healthy living’ might immediately make your mind leap to a long list of things you’re forbidden to eat, for owner of restaurant Farmer J and cookbook author Ali Alt, it’s quite the opposite.
“It’s not about cutting out gluten, dairy, or every animal product imaginable (did you know that honey isn’t vegan?). It’s about balance,” she explains.
“Eating well means eating whole, sustainably sourced ingredients in balanced quantities. It means cooking from scratch with no additives or chemicals. Basically, eating real, honest food.
“I’m certainly not advocating eating one cow a day, or 10 tins of chickpeas. It’s more about moderation, high-quality ingredients and proper scratch cooking.”
4. The recipe developer
They say that variety is the spice of life, but it can be hard to really embrace a diverse plate when you always crave your tried-and-true favourites.
For recipe developer and food blogger The Mother Cooker, aka Gem Morson, the key is colour.
“Eating well means a rainbow on my plate,” she says.
“I love to fill up on all different colours of food and I reflect that in what I feed my daughter, too.
“I love colour in all other aspects of my life, so I try and put that into my food. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables always makes me feel good, so I try to pack in as many as I can.”
5. The nutritionist
Ever wondered how a nutritionist practices their food philosophy?
For Kamilla Schaffner, it’s all about personal accountability.
“Being logical and honest with yourself about your daily food choices is a very good foundation to eating well,” she reveals.
“As much as we hear about mindfulness and intuitive approaches to eating these days, a lot of people still struggle with understanding these concepts and how they translate into everyday eating.
“It’s about understanding your nutritional needs, and then navigating towards the right choices in our ever-confusing world of nutritional information.”