Let me start off by saying that my Instagram account is dominated by food. I’ll throw in a flat lay, fitness pic, or my dog once in a while, but mostly… food.
Why? It’s pretty and I love it. I like eating it, I like cooking it, and on a stressful day, my food probably looks a little more together than I do. Just being honest.
And you know something? I love Instagram. I have friends from Instagram I’ve never met in real life. I adore getting foodie and fitness inspiration from other people who are interested in wellness. Instagram honestly gives me opportunities I would not have without it. Technology is awesome.
But, of course, there’s a “but”. Actually, there are several.
The Bowl Topped with the Contents of Whole Foods
I love toppings. My salads better be a whole lot more than just lettuce, and my smoothie bowls will usually have some granola, nuts, and fruit on top. That’s not what I’m talking about. No. I’m talking about the yogurt that is topped with two different protein bars, an ocean of nut butter, an avocado, five bananas, a fried egg, a deluge of cacao nibs, a sprinkle of whatever superfood powder was on sale, and a bag of granola. Am I exaggerating? Only about the five bananas. (It’s more like two.)
Is that bowl pretty? If you do it right, maybe.
However, it’s also something I am almost positive no one was doing before they cared how pretty their food looked. First, how can you taste any one of those components when they’re all competing for your tastebuds’ attention? Second, as much as I adore lots of food and healthy fats, it’s hard to believe that your average person is eating that much food at any one meal. That’s the sort of bowl that looks ultra healthy to the untrained eye, but is probably more than the average active person needs. If that’s really what you’re eating, cool. If that works for you, great. But if you’re posting it simply because it’s stunning and over-the-top, maybe mention that in your caption.
The Macro-Friendly #FoodPorn
Instagram practically explodes every time there is a new processed fit food that is supposed to be as good as dessert. I am as in love with protein-packed “ice cream” and the occasional protein bar or cookie as the next person. If you love it and eat it, post it.
But please, recognize it for what it is. It’s a stand-in for the sugarier, fattier, more caloric version of dessert. Is it healthier? That depends on what your goals are. If you’re scared to eat Ben & Jerry’s, so you’re subbing it for Arctic Zero… rethink that restrictive mindset. If you just like Halo Top sometimes or it sits better with your stomach, there’s nothing wrong with that. I can relate.
And for the love of all that’s good in food, don’t top Halo Top with a Pop-Tart, six Oreos, a Quest Bar, and zero-calorie chocolate syrup… unless all that really tastes great to you. I can’t say I’ve ever tried it, but I’ve had all those things individually and while I guess it looks impressive, I really can’t imagine it tastes great.
The Barely-A-Snack Meal
We all have different fueling needs. It depends on your personal chemistry, your activity, what you’re planning on doing tomorrow, and how much you slept last night, among 5392 other things. I’ve unintentionally been the person who doesn’t eat enough all day and doesn’t think much of it, only to be starving at night. Don’t be that person. Don’t eat spinach, a carrot, and two slices of turkey for lunch or a single egg with half an apple for breakfast.
The Every Superfood in Existence Smoothie
As a foodie and fitness lover, I have jumped on more health trends than I care to admit. I love collagen, I feel best when I eat mostly Paleo, and I add maca and nutritional yeast to all sorts of foods.
But here’s the catch: I don’t think you need any of those things to be healthy. I just like them.
If you see an Instagrammer adding six types of mushrooms, eight herbs, collagen, cacao butter, and three potions you can’t pronounce to your smoothie, you might feel like you have to do that. You absolutely do not. I love it when people admit that, but all too often, they make all that extra stuff seem vital. Those things are fun, and probably not unhealthy, but they are not necessary and anyone who tells you differently is lying. Those all cost a pretty decent amount of money that college students definitely do not need to be dropping on smoothie ingredients.
Balance out your smoothie with some protein, carbs, and healthy fat. Toss in some spinach or another veggie to add nutrients. Go organic if you want. Don’t add too much sugar. Ta-da. No fancy superfoods needed.
P.S. It takes way less time to do that than to measure and add nineteen other things.
So as great as Instagram can be, it can also be a case study in all sorts of unhealthy and unnecessary behaviors. Just use your common sense about your own health and your own body, and you’ll be good to go.
Check out these articles: