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Rethinking Treat Foods

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Psst. Has it been a rough day? Kiddos or DH getting under your skin? Finances stretched and the car making a funny noise?

"You deserve a treat. Come on! Have a cookie....or 8...maybe some icecream?"

How many times in my pre-SP days have I heard that? For a while it seemed like my car automatically went through the McD drive thru for a 3pack of cookies. I noshed on a bakery donut while I did my food shopping. Ate icecream because DH was having some and it sounded like a good idea.

Treat foods were always a bit part of my life. A way for me to give myself a little something, nurturing, delicious and specially MINE.

Recently I have been rethinking treat foods - to make them things that are still treats, but are REALLY special or ways that are worth their calories. Examples:

1) Cookies. Love 'em. But I'm setting a limit, drawing a line in the sand: homemade are still open season, but store-bought are offlimits. And I'm restraining myself from baking again too soon. I'm not going to spend my precious calories on store bought crap.

2) Cheese. Dear God do I love cheese. But calorie for calorie, most cheeses that are eaten out of hand (ricotta, cream and parmesan are not part of this picture - think cheddar) are pretty much the same. But OH they taste so different. So lately I've been buying the really expensive cheese. You know, the super good stuff that's $11.99 a pound. The flavor is SO GOOD, so you only need a little bit to really enjoy it and get your "cheese high" (Is there such a thing as a cheese high? There should be.)

3) Fresh berries. Delicious, healthy and expensive as anything. When I see them on sale, I get them and eat them. They fill my treat food niche without any of the calorie guilt.

4) Ice cream. I Dont Eat It Every Day. Or even once a week. DH eats it all the time, but there have been many a carton in the fridge that I never even tasted. But when I do eat, I get real icecream, no toppings and call it a treat. I had some today as a matter of fact. Delicious, but I cant remember the last time I had - maybe my nephews birthday cake in January?

5) Flowers - this is a bit of a new thing, and I've posted about it before, but lately I find I am able to "Treat" myself with a bunch of flowers or a potted plant. Right now I have some orchids ($10) that I picked up last week. Yeah, way more expensive than a cookie from the drive thru, but they satisfy that need to treat without ANY calorie expenditure. And the satisfaction lasts a heckofalot longer!

So yes, I still treat myself...but I try to think about "crash for my calories" (instead of bang for your buck) Treat foods should be just that: treats, but not every day occurrences.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ANDY_54
    Just saw this and I absolutely love your idea about the plants being a "treat"--I'm struggling in that department right now, and this looks like a good thing! Thanks for the post!
    1781 days ago
    Send some of that restraint my way, please. I'm not big on chocolate, and I definitely eat far fewer sweets, but I still find that I eat them mindlessly. But only at work. Why? Because the dang Fiscal Dept. is full of nurturing women who show their love with food. Ugh. It's right there in front of me. All the time. So, yeah, please send me some of that restraint.
    1803 days ago
    There is TOTALLY something called a "cheese high". My bestie in college and I used to say "I love you more than I love cheese."

    Yes. I understand the cheese love!

    Sounds like you have great plans here - I'm glad you are finding ways to treat yourself that are really TREATS for you!
    1803 days ago
    To say I have a sweet tooth is an under statement! Pre spark days, me and sweets were the Bestest of friends! Now, they are my long distance Bestest of friends! I still eat them, but not nearly as often or as much when I do. Can I say I have a handle on it, NO WAY, but it is a process :)
    1803 days ago
    I love cheese too. I used to eat a lot of it, now I use it as a treat. One thing I adore is chocolate... but these days I only eat high quality dark chocolate. A little bit goes a long way.
    1804 days ago
    Wow you just described my pre-SP life too! It's hard to get away from soothing our daily troubles with food! I have found that telling myself "Eating this will NOT solve your problems" is also helpful!

    Another treat I like to give myself--instead of food--is earrings. Whenever I feel like I need a little something to make my day happy, I find a clearance bin of earrings to dig through and find a cheap pair I like. And they make me happy. :)
    1804 days ago
  • MJ7DM33
    1804 days ago
    I'm kind of thinking the same thing with cheeseburgers like you do cookies. If I'm going to have that "treat," why waste it on something that isn't as good, like McDonalds? I'd rather just wait and plan a day where, if I really want a cheeseburger, I will go to Wendy's or Five Guys, where the burgers are MUCH tastier. Not only does it really make it a special (rare) treat since neither place is within 30 miles or so of my house, but delaying it to another day lets me know whether it's a genuine craving or just a random momentary craving based on emotion, stress, etc.

    And cheese...I have started going for the full-fat sharp cheddar. I can use so much less of it and get tons of flavor that it basically evens out or is less compared to the mild low-fat cheddar (which I will end up using more of).
    1804 days ago
    This is wonderful and really helpful for me to read as I'm in the same place with my thinking right now. It took me a long time to realize that "moderation" doesn't mean a half cup of ice cream every day! emoticon
    1804 days ago
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    1804 days ago
    I agree completely. I'm getting better at saying no to things that I don't like enough to be worth the calories and treating myself with good quality dark chocolate.

    And there is such a thing as a cheese high. I read an article sometime back that said when you eat cheese, your body makes some kind of chemical (enzyme?) that mimics morphine!
    1804 days ago
    It's like you're in my head and YES, I definitely believe in a 'cheese high' - love the stuff. I try to buy myself flowers a couple of times a month, somehow they just make me feel really happy when I see them.
    1804 days ago
    Also love the flower idea, that's fantastic!
    I feel lucky that I grew up in a family who had their daily treat at tea-time in the afternoon. The only time I serve a dessert after a meal is for company and on holidays. Making your treat a time that you sit down and chat with a friend or do a bit of fun reading while consuming lots of tea(I like spice in the winter and raspberry in the summer) will make even a small treat seem much larger. 1 homemade cookie or 2 mini candy bars at my tea will completely satisfy me. I think once people get in the habit of eating treats differently, it will satisfy them to have just a little.
    1804 days ago
    Love the flower idea! I guess it is good my DH doesn't like ice cream - so we don't have it in the house! Have you tried the low-fat Calbot cheese - it tastes great.
    And, I love your idea about the cookies.
    1804 days ago
    I love the idea of flowers as a treat. I am copying that! And I feel the same about cookies. No store bought. Not worth it!
    1805 days ago
    Love your #5... finding a non-food reward treat that's small enough to not break the bank is vital to ongoing success. I found that little votive candles do it for me. I light them in the dark of the morning, while I'm packing my lunch and snacks and cooking my breakfast. And feel special.

    Flowers sounds just about perfect, too... as a special treat! emoticon
    1805 days ago
  • KEEPFIT2013
    Yes...it is definitely worth waiting for the 'best' treats and then they are worth savouring!!
    Thanks for sharing
    1805 days ago
    I do the same. Not too many treats, but when I do have them, they are FOR REAL!
    1805 days ago
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