Instagram-worthy meals have seemingly become the norm due to our current social media climate. Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap, and remember that gorgeous food isn’t a pre-requisite for nourishing your body.
In today’s social media landscape, it can be hard to remember that day-to-day meals for most people don’t involve $10 green juices, fancy salad bowls, or avocado toast that’s made to look like still-life artwork.
While Instagram can be a wonderful source of inspiration and a great place to make connections, it also provides a limitless supply of pretty pictures. That’s why it can be intimidating to only see picture-perfect meals and expensive, fancy food as you scroll through.
It gives the impression that if you don’t participate in these particular trends, you must not be healthy.
Do you remember a time when people didn’t pause to photograph their food before eating? Yes, “eating with your eyes” is a thing, and it’s great to enjoy beautiful food. In fact, it can make the eating experience more fun and exciting.
But sometimes, eating a soup or stew that looks brown and lifeless can actually be nourishing, delicious, and exactly what your body needs. Home cooking might not be as elegantly arranged as something purchased out at a restaurant, but often it is just as great for you, if not more so.
Many people find themselves too intimidated to try making things at home for fear that it won’t look or taste the way their favorite restaurant makes it. And yes, there’s a good chance that it won’t. But that’s okay!
It is still fun to play in your kitchen, try out recipes with your own spin, and revel in the fact that you made it with your own hands. Not to mention, your budget and body will likely be much happier with homemade food.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with the Insta-food comparison trap, remember these quick tips:
1. Your body knows best what it needs, and when.
Sometimes that might be a green smoothie, or sometimes it might be plain scrambled eggs. Either way is okay, and it doesn’t have to be exquisite to be right for you in that moment. As long as your meal is balanced to your individual needs, the aesthetics don’t really matter.
2. Use Instagram as inspiration for ideas, recipes, or foods, not a standard.
Just because someone you follow and respect posts particular foods, restaurants, or eating patterns, you don’t have to do the same.
3. Control what goes on your Instagram feed.
Ultimately, you control your social media. Unfollow anyone that makes healthy eating feel unattainable, or makes you feel less for your choices and eating patterns.
With so many food options out there these days, there truly is something for everyone. The same can be said for your own kitchen. It’s where individuality can shine, preferences can easily be met, and health can transform into what best meets your own personal needs.
Feel free to post pictures of that food too;
It just might spark joy in your life, or the life of others.
HEADER IMAGE: STEVE DANIEL
Autumn Ehsaei, MS, RDN, LDN, CLT is a private practice dietitian and owner of Perennial Nutrition, based in Cary, NC. Autumn’s passion is to help others approach nutrition from a place of abundance, teaching them to integrate more nourishment into their lives rather than focusing on restriction. She fights against fad diets, de-bunks myths, and works with clients where they are to find sustainable solutions to their nutrition concerns.