Oh the 80/20 rule, I first heard of this rule on Tyler Perry’s movie “Why Did I Get Married” and they said you only get 80%of what you need out of a person in a relationship. The missing 20% is what most people seek in outside entanglements, until they’re left with only 20% and realize 80% gave them everything they needed.

In nutrition the rule is quite similar 80% healthy 20% saucy, some Coaches and dietitians like to take it even further with a 90/10 ratio (taking it a little too far for me).

The 80/20 rule is a healthy less restrictive eating option opposed to typical diets, it is more of a lifestyle. 


There’s a lot of great benefits to adapting to an 80/20 lifestyle, the biggest one is being able to have those treats and saucy meals everyone loves. 

With the 80% part of the plan, you want to focus on drinking lots of water and eating nutritious foods like: 

  • whole grains
  • fruits and vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado etc.)

For your 20% saucy you can eat the things you like in moderation, of course always mind your portions and remember a calorie is a calorie, good or bad you can always overindulge. The 20% allows you to say, “I can eat this today and have that tomorrow”. This style of eating limits your cravings and allows you not to give up the foods you still enjoy.

This way of eating is easier to maintain than most stricter diets like keto or paleo diets, which limit carbs and processed foods, the 80/20 rule  is something you can live on. For example, breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week equals 21 meals, so 80 percent would be 17 healthy meals. 17 full complete healthy meals (protein, vegetable, carb) or you can break it down to a more everyday basis (the best way in my opinion) in which you’ll pair your 20% with an 80% plate. Meaning if I know I want a piece of cake tonight I’ll lower my portions on the plate to save room for my 20% cake. You can also substitute the dish; you want fried chicken tonight well pair it with a baked sweet potato and greens beans to accommodate the extra calories from the chicken being fried. This is just basic lifestyle eating broken down into numbers to make you more aware with self-control. 


Like any lifestyle or diet, you want to see results, you want to know that this will help you lose weight! The answer is yes it will, but like I said before with portion control. The 80/20 rule only works if you know what 20% looks like and I can guarantee you it’s not two slices of cake. When people are given an inch, some people take a mile. Let’s say a person consumes two scrambled eggs, a yogurt and muffin for breakfast, nice chicken cobb salad for lunch, and for that 20% they’ll have a double cheeseburger, medium fry and a medium sprite from Wendy’s and let me swing by McDonalds for an apple pie. That’s not 20% you basically just cancelled everything good you did today and you’re not even going to work out. If 20% leads to 40% or 50 you don’t have enough calorie deficit to lose weight and that’s the key to losing weight.

If you have already been eating in an 80/20 diet you may not see much of a difference, but even so you can still use this tool as a helpful guide to maintain your health and lower the risk for conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Use the “My Plate” table below as a guide to a healthier looking plate. The 80/20 rule is something you can use to maintain, stay healthy or lose weight it can fit into any lifestyle, it suits anyone’s needs and is a great way to start people off on their healthy journey without having to starve and miss out on the food you love.  

Still eating in the 60-40 ,50-50 range? That’s ok I can help, click the menu tab above and click nutrition coach. There I can help you get started on your health journey

Peace & Blessings

Malanna S.

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