I’ve been seeing #800gchallenge all over the ‘gram lately, but I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to it until I saw one of my friends doing it. Guys, I think I love it, and here’s why.
What is the 800g Challenge?
The 800g Challenge was designed by Optimized Nutrition as a tool to help people assess the quality of their diet, and start making daily habit changes to eating their way to a healthier lifestyle.
I freaking love that concept. It’s something I tell my clients all the time: even when we’re tracking the quantity of our food (as a tool to make a change to our body composition; i.e. losing weight, building muscle, etc.), we still have to pay attention to the QUALITY of what we’re eating. We can be just as unhealthy even when we’re hitting our macros if we’re choosing processed foods over nutrient dense, whole foods. Macros do matter, but what a lot of people sometimes forget is so do the micronutrients.
What do you eat during the 800g challenge?
Each day, eat 800g in weight of fruits and vegetables. That’s it. Simple rules make it easy to follow, right? No fruit or vegetable is off limits. You can eat fresh, canned, frozen – anything. Just only weigh what you’re going to eat (so like, peel your orange before you weigh it so you don’t get an inaccurate number including the weight of the peel/skin, and drain any canned veggies first). Want to weigh them before you cook them? Do it. Want to weigh them after they’re cooked? Go for it.
If you don’t have a food scale at home, you can still totally participate. Just know that 1 cup of food is approximately 100g, and one closed fist is about the same as 1 cup.
Any food restrictions? Nope. You can eat anything else throughout the day like you normally would. If you want to learn more about the fruits and veggies you can eat (which are essentially every and any), you can find out more by visiting the Optimized Nutrition site here (there are a few things that don’t count toward your 800g, so I recommend reading through before you start!)
Should you try the 800g challenge?
Why not? This program isn’t asking you to purchase any supplements. It’s not restricting your diet or telling you that you can’t eat a certain group of foods. It’s instead – encouraging you to fill your plate with healthier foods than we may be choosing on a typical basis.
I gotta be honest. I used to eat a TON of fruits and veggies throughout the day. That has always been my main rule: add something green (or any veggie really) to every single meal. Fruits were saved for snack time. It’s how I rolled. It worked for me and I always felt great. I still eat pretty dang clean, but somewhere along the way I’ve become a little loose with my own rule. I have found that a lot of my meals don’t really feature any vegetable, and if they do – it’s a small portion. Somewhere in my quest for figuring out and adjusting my own macros, my focus has shifted from the quality to hitting a certain number (mostly my protein intake).
I haven’t been doing the 800g challenge for very long, but it’s been eye opening for me in comparing how I used to eat vs. the habits I currently have. I’m excited to keep going and see if I can transform my own nutrition a little bit! I’ll still be tracking my macros, but I’ll also be focusing on the types of food (aka the quality) of foods I’m choosing to fuel my body.
The 800g Challenge might be for you if:
- You are someone who doesn’t eat many fruits or veggies during the day (like, none, or only one or two servings total).
- You are wanting to improve your overall health.
- You are wanting to clean up your diet.
- You are wanting to teach your family about healthy eating habits.
- You are wanting to lose weight (This challenge itself may or may not help you lose weight. But what it can do is help you start making better decisions when it comes to the foods you’re selecting to fuel your body. When you start eating healthier, you’re more likely to start adopting other healthier behaviors. Also, fruits and veggies are typically lower in calories, and when you burn more calories than you consume on a consistent basis, that’s when weight loss occurs).
- You need something healthy to focus on during the pandemic and this is something positive that you can control.
Why are Fruits and Veggies so Important?
Simply put, fruits and vegetables are jam packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Not to mention fiber and phytochemicals (which help fight off certain diseases like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, macular degeneration, and more). Fruits and veggies also help us control our weight, and give us natural boosts of energy to help us get through our day. For reference – pizza, while delicious, does the opposite of those things (unless you’re eating a cauliflower crust pizza, that’s a little different).
If you’re doing the 800g challenge or contemplating – drop a comment and let me know what’s working for you or what your plan of attack will be! Otherwise I’ll just keep stalking the hashtag #800gchallenge on Insta.
Check out these fruit-filled recipes:
Check out these veggie-filled recipes:
Check out these posts about some of my fave superfoods:
Fun fact: my spell check didn’t pick up on the fact that I apparently typed out “chest out” instead of “check out” for these lists initially. I mean.. I have been working on my posture but.. geez.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.