The 90/10 Nutrition Rule

There is a 90/10 rule out there that pertains to life and it claims that if you follow this rule, it can change your life for the better. It goes on to say that 10% of what happens in life we can not control, and 90% of what happens, such as our reaction to events, we can control. I think that’s a great philosophy and it will make me think twice before I react to something happening that I can’t control, like getting stuck in traffic or waiting for a late train. But how does this relate to nutrition? The 90/10 rule for nutrition states that if we control what we eat and focus on lean meats, whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies for 90% of our meals, then we can “loosen up” for the other 10% of our meals. Let’s break it down and look at its benefits.

Let’s say you’re eating about five small meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two small snacks in between), that’s 35 meals a week. 10% of that is about 3 meals a week that you can let go a little. Having a little wiggle-room in your diet helps you mentally when faced with the challenges of losing weight and eating right. No one wants to deprive themselves, and if you do you can be pretty certain that you’re going to cave to the crave sooner or later and getting back up on that diet horse will be even more difficult. So there is no need to sabotage yourself. You need to work with yourself! Giving yourself some wiggle-room still lets you enjoy the things you love that may not be the most nutritious for you, but you know by eating them you haven’t derailed your progress because you’re following the 90/10 nutrition rule.

Now don’t go thinking that for three meals a week you can go buck-wild and order a super-sized (do they even allow that anymore?) McDonald’s Big Mac and fries with a milkshake. Let’s be reasonable. All things in moderation. If we focus on moderation, not deprivation, then eating right is not so daunting a task. Keep your portions small always, and with your three “wiggle-room” meals, be reasonable so you won’t feel guilty or deprived. You want to make a lifestyle change that you can adhere to and I think this is a great way to do it. Most diets are not long-lasting and sooner or later those old habits creep back in. Following the 90/10 rule helps in changing the way you view eating and dieting and still lets you enjoy a few small guilty pleasures!

Here I have a great recipe that is so easy to make and tastes great! Hope you enjoy!

2 pieces chicken breast (pounded flat)
6 ounces artichoke hearts
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Place pounded chicken breast in baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Add chopped artichoke hearts and balsamic vinegar and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with brown rice and your choice of fresh veggie!

Anne Marie Costanzo is a nationally certified personal trainer and owner of Little Black Dress Personal Training. She can be reached at or (914) 841-1121.

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About the Author: Anne Marie Constanzo