Actress Lea Michele is a known SoulCycle devotee who takes her wellness routine seriously. And now we know her healthy lifestyle includes avoiding fast food.
In a new interview with E! News, the Glee star shared that fast food isn't normally part of her balanced routine. "I've never eaten fast food," she told E! "My house is healthy, so when I'm saying I'm eating a lot it's like good food that's worth it."
Although this lifestyle works for Michele, you don’t need to swear off fast food forever to be healthy. "I don't think we need to say 'Don't eat fast food ever,'" Ginger Hultin, RDN, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman, told SELF. "I think it's about making better choices at fast food restaurants, or maybe you don't eat it all that often and it's a treat or a splurge."
Also, Michele's diet still leaves room for indulging. The actress previously told SELF that she doesn't deprive herself when it comes to her diet — but fast food just isn't her go-to. She's more of a pasta-and-wine girl. "I'm Italian. I like to eat big meals. I love red wine," she told E! "And when you're traveling and stuff like that, I like trying new restaurants and going on adventures, so I can't limit myself."
Abby Langer, RD, owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto, previously told SELF that most people don't work well with food restrictions — it can lead to overcompensating when, say, you come across a box of dougnuts after "banning" added sugar. The recommendation Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, owner of Nutrition Starring You, gave SELF: Stick with whole foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein — 80 to 90 percent of the time, and indulge 10 to 20 percent of the time, whether that's with fast food or hearty Italian meals with lots of wine. Your preferred indulgence is really up to you.
Hultin added that many fast food restaurants have also changed their menus to meet consumer demand for healthy options, so fast food and healthy food are no longer mutually exclusive. "You're seeing way more fruit, vegetables‚ salads, you're seeing the options for smaller portions, and water instead of soda," she said.
Bottom line: It's OK if fast food is your indulgence — but if your goal is to fuel your body with energizing, nutritious foods most of the time, consider it a treat instead of the norm. "Yes, [Michele] said she never eats fast food," Hultin said. "But she's also saying that she eats big meals and drinks red wine." It's all about picking what splurge is right for you.