I just realized I often wrap up the work week writing about something related to food or drink. Maybe that’s because one of my favorite ways to unwind after a crazy week is to join family or friends for dinner and drinks. On this Friday, however, I thought I’d address one of the foods many of us struggle with treating ourselves to on any day of the week: candy.
As my fabulous friend Amy recently pointed out, there’s been lots of advertising lately about the low-cal candies made by Skinny Cow™. However, there isn’t a lot of information about how much “better” these yummy options are for our diets. So, thanks to Amy, this blog post was born!
First of all, let me say I am a huge Skinny Cow fan! You’ll always find a box of Skinny Cow Fudge Bars in my freezer. At 100 calories and one gram of fat, they’re the perfect no-guilt dessert, especially after a good workout! (The fact that they blend nicely for a low-cal mudslide option is an added bonus). The other reason I like them so much is that a single bar truly satisfies my ice-cream craving. That makes the box of fudge bars a safer dessert option than a gallon of reduced-fat or “light” ice cream. In all honesty, I could easily eat that whole gallon in one sitting.
That brings me to the crux of the problem with the Skinny Cow candies and most of the lower-calorie options out there: if you’re like me, and you know one serving isn’t going to satisfy your sweet tooth, then you may be sabotaging your diet by bringing boxes of these treats into your home. Again, as someone in complete awe of those who can eat one piece of candy on Halloween and call it a day, I would definitely be at risk of eating the entire box of Skinny Cow “Dreamy Clusters.” Here’s what the damage would look like: while one pouch contains 120 calories and six grams of fat, the whole box – six pouches total – brings you to 720 calories and 36 grams of fat. Yikes!
So, for me, the better option is to “give in” to my chocolate craving and go for a full-size “3 Musketeers” bar. It weighs in at 260 calories and 8 grams of fat, but I know I’ll have only one. This is the reason I stopped buying Weight Watchers® snack cakes years ago. I could easily polish off an entire box of brownies, cookies or chocolate creme cakes during one re-run of “The Golden Girls.” Instead, if I want to “splurge,” I will have a real cupcake from Crumbs and plan out the rest of my menu for the day accordingly. At the end of the day, the key to remember is that lo-cal options may not always be the best option for you and your eating habits.
Finally, as a relentless promoter of the everything-in-moderation lifestyle, if you do go overboard today and find you’ve devoured the whole box of Skinny Cow candies or half the chocolate cake in the break room, brush off the crumbs and remember this: tomorrow brings new opportunities to make better choices so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
So, I planned on writing another “serious” and informative segment for the latest installment on LauraLovesFitness, but it isn’t going to turn out that way. Instead, after enjoying a celebratory evening to honor my mom’s birthday, I’m reminded why one of my favorite expressions of all time remains “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
My work schedule and my mom’s birthday celebration plans left no room for a workout today. At dinner, I ended up having more wine than usual, and I even had a chocolate molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert after polishing off some amazing pappardelle for my main course. I’m reminded that on special occasions, it’s okay to enjoy yourself and step outside your “normal” zone.
I enjoyed a wonderful evening of wine and conversation with my family – which included my aunt and uncle who are visiting from Italy. I’ll get back on track tomorrow by eating my normal fare of fruits, veggies and whole grains and getting to the gym after work. For tonight, it was nice to live in the moment and unwind after work…and for what better reason than to celebrate the most fabulous female I know – my mom.
So, I leave you with this: it’s okay to fall off the fitness wagon once in awhile. Life throws us curve balls sometimes. Whether you’re out celebrating something wonderful or dealing with something not-so-great, remember that tomorrow is another day…and another chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Nutritionists and registered dietitians are the experts when it comes to healthy eating. I am neither, but as part of the fitness industry, I get plenty of questions about what people should and shouldn’t eat. So, in order to address this topic early in my blogging adventures, here’s a 100% personal account of how I try to maintain a healthy diet.
I joined Weight Watchers in May 2007. Why? Because the post-divorce “diet” I started which included a dinner of half-a-jar of peanut butter with chocolate syrup and a side of vodka on ice was not a healthy regimen to maintain. Also, being in my 30s, I couldn’t rely on the workouts I started during my Northwestern days to counterbalance the bad food choices I was making too often. Aside from worrying about gaining weight, I felt absolutely awful.
Today, I am a lifetime Weight Watchers member. I continue to go to meetings when I can and the program works for my lifestyle. Again, for me, it was not about losing a lot of weight, it was about learning to eat better. I’m not here to offer a lesson about point values and food. Instead, here’s a snapshot of what I’ve learned that helps me stay on track.
- I never skip breakfast. During the work week, I’ll make my own parfait with non-fat plain Greek yogurt, sliced banana, strawberries or blueberries (there’s two – three servings of fruit for the day!) and a serving of high-fiber cereal.
- Instead of having three big meals, I eat every three to four hours. This prevents me from being so hungry that I go overboard at the next meal.
- Every Sunday, I spend 30-60 minutes chopping red peppers and celery and pack up the sticks up with baby carrots or cherry tomatoes in individual containers, one for each day of the week. It’s an easy way to get in two servings of veggies while sitting at my desk. (The idea works just as well if you’re home.)
- I have embraced whole grains! I like Weight Watchers breads for sandwiches, cook whole grain pasta at home and on “bad”nights when we order Chinese or burritos, we ask for brown rice.
- Finally, I refuse to say “I will never eat (a fudge-covered Oreo/a bacon cheeseburger/lasagna) ever again!” First of all, life’s too short. Second, in my experience, the longer you deny yourself something you really like, the better chance you have of over-indulging when you do finally “break down.”
Now listen, I have my fair share of “bad food” days. I love dessert, especially chocolate, and I love Prosecco and red wine. But one bad day doesn’t have to mean “well, I blew it today, so I may as well throw the whole week out the window and start over on Monday.” On the contrary, every day offers a clean slate and a brand new chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!