Hubert Cormier

By Hubert Cormier

March 10, 2017


Eating Out at Lunchtime: Think About the Vice-Virtue Bundle Diet!

Article revised on 8 June 2017

Nowadays, work schedules can often be very demanding. We travel to different cities frequently and the business lunches pile up over time. Is it realistic to think you can eat healthy when there are so many less nutritious than tempting choices available? Let me introduce the vice-virtue bundle diet, which will allow you to better manage what you eat.

First, we have to break down and define this concept which was developed by a research team at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Vice foods are low in nutrition, like alcohol, cookies, chocolate, chips, etc. These types of foods are coveted by people because they provide immediate gratification when consumed. Virtue foods, on the other hand, promote healthy choices. Those who eat virtue foods are always on the lookout for new dietary trends. By instinct, they will choose a fruit over a cookie.

By combining vice and virtue, you can find a balance between the proportion of healthy and not-so-healthy foods in our diet. It has been proven that practicing moderation is more efficient than depriving yourself of certain foods in managing your diet. This promising concept successfully combines health, taste and pleasure.

One concept, three categories 

Vice loversVirtue loversVirtue accepters
Consider vice foods to taste better than virtue foodsConsider virtue foods to be better and tastier than vice foodsOpt for virtue over vice in the absence of variety
Try to find a balance between taste and health, but tend to prioritize vice foodsDon’t feel the need to integrate vice foods, except to add a little variety to their menuInclude a small amount of vice foods without feeling guilty
Best choice for them: the half and half. For example, half french fries (vice), half salad (virtue)Best choice: they always opt for virtue. For example, an apple over a cookie as a snackBest choice for them: Include a small vice item with dinner. For example, order a salad as a side dish in a restaurant and snatch two or three fries from a colleague’s plate to satisfy your craving.

Helpful tips to eat well on the road

  • Sweet tooth: Go with a ready-to-eat fruit salad or a whole fruit rather than a chocolate bar or sugar-filled candies. If your chocolate craving persists, treat yourself to a mini portion of chocolate.
  • Salty tooth: Opt for roasted vegetables, individually wrapped cheese or a small portion (1/4 cup) of nuts instead of a bag of chips.
  • Side dishes: Opt for the more nutritious options that are lower in calories. Whenever possible, take a larger portion of salad (with the dressing on the side) or a blend of steamed vegetables. Combine them with a smaller portion of carbs like steamed rice, mashed potatoes or even a small order of french fries if you’re still hooked on vice foods.

Everyone’s a winner when following a vice-virtue bundle diet, especially when in a business environment because it offers a perfect balance of taste and health. Since it integrates healthy and not-so-healthy foods, this approach does away with the feeling of deprivation and guilt. Eating habits are better managed this way, and your caloric intake throughout the day remains under control.

Are you interested in health and well-being at work?

Get the VIVA workplace health and wellness program.

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