What is Healthier? (The sliding scale for making the best choices)
I get a lot of emails from our meal plans customers asking me if they can switch snacks around, and which food is "better" than the other. Or, they'll ask me "Is this food good?" or "Isn't eating [food item] bad?"
I try not to associate "good" and "bad" with food choices or behaviors because I don't find that's beneficial for me or my relationship with food, diet, life, etc. If I tell myself something is "bad" or eating it is "bad" I'll feel bad if I do eat it. I should be encouraging myself to make good choices not berating myself when I slip up and make a less-than-perfect choice.
Of course, there are some clear villains -- hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc., but generally speaking I look at a food on a overreaching "healthy" scale and find that allows me to make the best choices while also feeling good about them.
For example, I don't consider white rice "bad" but it's not as healthy as brown rice which is "better." Similarly, white pasta is not as healthy whole-wheat pasta and whole wheat pasta is not as healthy as a whole grain (like brown rice). See the difference?
If I'm at a restaurant and the only choice is white rice, I'm not going to tell myself it's "bad" or that I'm bad if I eat it. If there's brown rice, I'll get brown rice, but sometimes I just have to do the best that I can. After all white rice and steamed vegetables is still a whole lot better than deep fried spring rolls :)
This system allows to account for the situation you're in.
So when looking at your food choices, ask yourself what's the better choice from the options in front of you.