The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


What is Your Food Secret?

Posted in
Eat better

Thursday, Sep 06, 2012

It’s no secret to those that know me that I LOVE brownies. What might be a secret is that they have to be made from a box and the gooier the better. My husband on occasion will make his grandmother’s brownie recipe from scratch but they just aren’t the same. I haven’t told him because I know he is trying to do something special for me and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I have a little nibble to appease him but that is it.

I do have a few other food secrets though. There are a few foods that I buy under the guise that I am buying them for my kids when the reality is I am buying them for me.  The first is Annie’s® Bunny Grahams. These are little bunny shaped graham crackers. They are made from whole grain and are relatively low in sugar but just as their marketing materials say “they are hard to stop eating once you start!” So true. They also claim that “they are perfect for toddler hands and grown-up handfuls.” Not sure about the first part but can definitely confirm the second. When this grown-up buys these I have so many handfuls I finish the box in a matter of a few days and hardly any (in fact most of the time none at all) end up in my toddlers’ hands!!! A few months ago Annie’s® must have changed the Bunny Graham recipe because the taste has changed so I stopped buying them. Sorry kids (right, not sure they even noticed they were gone)!

So I thought well good. That is the end of that guilty behavior—out of sight out of mind right? Well not really. I pretty quickly replaced them with another food I found to purchase “for my kids”—Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® Pretzels. And I have found their marketing phrase to be true as well—“Goldfish crackers disappear fast!” Yes, yes they do especially when paired with walnuts?! (Try it. The combo is outstanding.)

If you have a secret food or foods why are they a secret? I mean on spec my examples of low sugar graham crackers and pretzels aren’t all that bad for you. Sometimes it is because the food combination is so crazy we wonder what people will think—like my brother-in-law’s habit of putting peanut butter on his hamburger (as he would say “don’t knock it ‘til you try it”—I think I will continue to pass). Sometimes it is because the food choice holds some special memory and we want to enjoy it with just ourselves or we feel that the food is somewhat childish and wonder if others would think that it shouldn’t be enjoyed by us adults. And sometimes, as in my case, it is because we feel that we shouldn’t be eating the things that we are, or we think that they are somehow bad for us or we overindulge on them. I mean my typical snack is fresh vegetables and fruit and I pride myself on my healthy yet tasty meal concoctions (one of my latest—whole wheat, oatmeal, banana, sweet potato, kale, flaxseed muffins). I guess somehow I view pretzels (made from enriched wheat and a decent amount of sodium) as not aligning with this. But I have to remind myself of the message that I so often preach; that all foods fit into a healthy eating plan. Food is meant to be enjoyed and as long as we are making good choices most of the time, these food indulgences/departures are okay. They are not going to “mess up” our healthy eating. It is not “cheating.”  Remember the principles of balance, moderation, and variety. I am going to work on the moderation part with the pretzels by portioning out a set amount and am also going to be more mindful of what it is that is causing me to reach for them in the first place as I discussed last week in “Stressed is Desserts Spelt Backwards” that way I can enjoy that salty crunchiness guilt free.  And read your food labels so that you can account for your indulgences. Maybe that food isn’t as bad as you thought. I just checked and one serving of goldfish is 43 pieces—so apparently I have been beating myself up over nothing!

What is your food secret?  Do you dare to share?