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When is a snack not a snack?

February 24, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Every year I buy girl scout cookies. Usually they are from a co-worker’s daughter or a neighbor, but this year I bought them from my granddaughter and had them mailed to me from North Carolina. It was a long way to send cookies, but my granddaughter is worth it. I have a goal. My mother never met my granddaughter, her great-granddaughter. My mother passed away a little more than a year before my daughter’s wedding and four years before my granddaughter’s birth. My goal is to be able to see my granddaughter grow, possibly get married and have children and to do this, I need to make sure I stay in the best health I can, or at least that is within my control.

I can control part of my health by controlling what fuels my body. If I feed my car trash, it won’t run. If I feed my body trash, it will only run for so long before it quits. But once in a while, we have to allow ourselves to be human.

I always order the peanut butter sandwich cookies for my husband. They are his favorites and I like them as well. But to keep myself from indulging, I order only enough for him, usually two boxes, and he takes them to work with him and stores them in his locker. He has also done this with leftover Halloween candy, Easter treats and Christmas junk food.

This year, I also ordered cookies for myself. The choices this season included two low-fat cookies, a lemon shortbread and another variety that is already separated into 100 calorie snack-size packages. I don’t buy these types of snack packages from the store because they are often much more expensive than simply buying a regular package and dividing it into individual servings. Another reason is that this is not what I perceive a snack to be.

You may have noticed by my eating photo log that I don’t often eat in the evening after dinner. This is possibly because we tend to eat dinner quite late, often after 7 p.m. For that reason, a mid-afternoon snack is what I prefer to hold me through until dinner. And this is exactly what a snack should be. So when is a snack not a snack? When it is a dessert, of course.

A snack is something we eat to hold us over until the next meal. Therefore, it should have enough nutrients to do that job. Empty calories, such as cookies, cake or other sweets, should be savored as an occasional dessert.

My Girl Scout cookies are tucked away in my freezer. I will eat them, once in a while, when I am ready to treat myself. In the meantime, they are just fine where they are.

Friday’s breakfast was a wonderful bowl of rolled oats cooked with a half cup water and a half cup fat-free milk. After cooking, I mashed a banana in the bottom of the bowl and mixed it with the oats. A few slivered almonds and a sprinkling of cinnamon topped off the cereal and it was more than I needed to get me through the morning.

Lunch was a repeat of the low-sodium vegetable soup I had earlier in the week along with a sliced turkey sandwich with tomato and low-fat mayonnaise. I was all out of lettuce. I also had a bottle of water with a packet of sugar free raspberry ice tea powder for a bit of flavor.

My husband and I had dinner out at a local restaurant not far from our house. My dinner salad came from the salad bar and was combination of mixed greens with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, red cabbage, sunflower seeds and one of my favorite dressing combinations, blue cheese with French. Usually I choose a low-fat dressing, but this night, I opted to splurge on the dressing rather than order a dessert. For a main course, I ordered broiled grouper with grilled onions and peppers with a side of steamed vegetables. You see the entire serving here, but I did bring half of it home for my Saturday lunch. We also requested a half-order of bruscetta for an appetizer. I had one piece and brought two home, which were my afternoon snack Saturday.

Saturday morning’s breakfast was an exact duplicate of Friday’s, so it isn’t shown here. Nor will I show lunch because it was half of my dinner from the night before. Instead, you will see the two pieces of bruscetta that held me through the afternoon until dinner. They consisted of two small pieces of Italian bread (one slice cut into two pieces), topped with chopped tomatoes, onions, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They were totally worth every bite.

Because I had such a decadent lunch and snack, dinner was a simple salad with two ounces of turkey cutlet with a side of green beans and sliced almonds.


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Friday breakfast: 1 ounce grains, 3/4 cup fruit; ½ ounce meat; ½ tsp. oils, 30 discretionary calories