True story: twice in the last three weeks, my kids were lured by a tiger. The first incident was a lazy Sunday morning when my two-year-old son checked out the Target flyer and noticed the Tiger (which is interesting is that this caught his eye over anything else–even toys). The second time was when we made a brief stop in a small market, and my five-year-old daughter noticed those eyes, which she said looked so “friendly.” Both incidents left my kids wishing we could invite the Tiger into our home and make him part of our family. Yes, that’s right…I’m talking about Tony the Tiger on the Frosted Flakes box. But more importantly, I’m talking about the time, energy and marketing that goes into making my kids react the way they did.
If you are like most people, I’m sure at some point in your life you have “tried” to be on a diet. Take a second to think about and add it up. Most adults can list the many experiences they have had with one diet or another, while some are so deeply identified as “dieters” that they would do better to try to remember the few times they weren’t on a diet. Imagine how happy that makes the diet industry! Then consider how sad it is that a basic need like eating has become so tangled that we need a multi-million dollar company to “teach” us how to do it.
I’ve been writing and thinking about healthy snacking a lot lately. This is partly because the summer is just a “snacky” time, as long road trips and full days outdoors encourage snacking (plus the heat usually zaps our appetite for big meals). Healthy snacking sounds like an oxymoron, but the reality is snacking can be a good thing. I am finding more and more, however, that people just don’t know how to snack.
There are few topics that paralyze me the way childhood obesity does. I know…I’m not supposed to “take it home.” As a clinician, it is my job to be just that…clinical. But how can I, when I am facing a 70-pound second grader and a parent that doesn’t know where to begin?
Everything feels “off” when the temperatures rise. As someone that pays a lot of attention to how and why people eat, I understand that cravings dictate and meals are greatly affected by the weather. I even notice how shopping habits change. (Now you know how obsessed with food I really am!) Since I see everything through a food lens, it won’t surprise you that I have a plan for summer eating and ideas to make it easier.
People often assume that as a registered dietitian I don’t indulge and that I am very strict about my diet. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, I truly believe that indulging in the foods and flavors you crave most is an important part of a healthy diet. I’ll even go so far as to say that wise indulging actually helps you maintain an ideal weight.
When I am around a table with local people who are passionate about trying to make the place they live healthier, we share a truly unique pride. When a community comes together and agrees that change is needed, then it is likely to happen. Even if it happens slowly, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that change is, indeed, happening.
The best part of summer is the chance to get out of town, visit interesting new places, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Eating well on the go can be a challenge. This list of healthful snack ideas and tips will help you make summer snacking choices that won’t slow you down.