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Friday’s Food for Thought

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!

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