We are entering our last week of the #800gChallenge™! Keep recording those scores and watching the leaderboard. The #800gChallenge™ closes this Sunday, with scores due by the end of the day Monday. Even if you have fallen off; jump back in! No one has perfect diets, you can always re-start.
Consistency proves itself to be valuable in most every endeavor, nutrition included. For those that have been eating whole foods for a period of time, eating 800 grams (g) of fruits and/or vegetables on any one day is not particularly challenging. Many individuals have reported that 800g is doable in a couple meals, and they can easily eat 1,000g or 1,200g a day. Great! Suppose for a moment that 1,200g a day is the optimal number for health and/or performance. How optimal is it if it is also not sustainable? Hitting a high of 1,200g one day just to fall off the next day is less ideal than just consistency reaching a lower target.
In the example graph, a seven-day stretch of roller-coaster fruit and vegetable consumption leaves the individual down 1,000g (or 12.5 servings a week) compared with someone who “just” hits 800g/day. In one month, that’s 50+ servings of fruits and vegetables missed (assuming 80g per “serving”)! The potential for general health and performance benefits become obvious with a consistent base of 800g/day: there is increased nutrient density combined with the synergistic effect of pushing out poor quality items. Particularly as the small daily effects are compounded across weeks.
A 300g Day
It is also worth noting what the low point on the graph (i.e., ~300g day) may look like. It’s not that hard to do even while staying away from processed food and sugar. You can also hit those protein, carbohydrate, and fat macronutrient targets with a low fruit and vegetable consumption. It may look like:
- Oatmeal with protein powder, yogurt, and mixed berries (86g);
- Chicken salad and an apple (149g);
- Sushi roll (negligible avocado grams); and
- Chicken, rice, broccoli (~79g), and small dessert.
For those that have found 800g is too difficult to keep up with; scale it! Maybe you need to run your own “400g Challenge” or “600g Challenge” and establish consistency there. Consistently hit a lower benchmark for the same reason that overshooting 800g to fall off the next day can result in a lower quality diet overall.
Good luck in the final week! Let’s finish strong, although hopefully you continue with some version of the metric after the challenge to keep those fruits and vegetables in the diet. And even if you’ve fallen off the wagon, get back on and finish out this last week. Don’t let perfect get in the way of better.