​In defense of the Oreo

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on January 22, 2021 # Health, Lifestyle

Kristin, her fiancé, and their dog smilingWe all know it’s important to eat healthily, and it’s important to have a balanced diet. But, we also know how much we love something sweet after dinner, a mid-day treat or, on my best days, a cookie after breakfast. My sister, eight months pregnant, admitted to sometimes eating dessert after breakfast and I, definitely not pregnant, responded, “same.” Her pregnancy is her excuse, but what’s mine?

Maybe a cookie isn’t my smartest move, but an after-breakfast treat isn’t completely out of the question; there are healthy-ish alternatives to choose from. Here are some of my favorite options, but there are hundreds more on the internet, maybe thousands.

  1. Fruit. This is the more obvious option, so I’ll start here. You can eat them frozen, raw from the refrigerator, blended into a smoothie, piled into a fruit salad, or even on a grill. I’m really into frozen cherries these days, and I can eat my way through a pack of raspberries in one sitting.
  2. People love to say that dark chocolate is healthy, but that’s only if you squint your eyes and cock your head to the left. The antioxidants are beneficial once you reach more than 75% cocoa, but that’s also when it starts tasting bitter. In my well-trained opinion, bitter chocolate is better chocolate. So I’m throwing down a challenge: try a bar with a cocoa percentage in the 90s. It’ll be enough to satiate your desire for dessert, but it likely won’t make you want more than one square. That dark of chocolate is either a perfect solution or an unnecessary torture. You decide!
  3. Homemade Applesauce, because the store-bought versions have truckloads of sugar. It’s fairly simple to make, too. All you do is cut the apples, bake ‘em, stir ‘em, add some honey and cinnamon, and you’ve got homemade applesauce. This is a healthier and accessible dessert that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth. Look up the full instructions online, though. Your biggest mistake would be to trust me with a recipe.
  4. Homemade Avocado Pudding is another fun and nostalgic option. And it’s easy: throw an avocado, honey, vanilla extract, and almond milk in the blender, and viola. Pudding. A spoonful of pudding is perfect for when I just needed that little something extra. Or if, like me, you live with someone who doesn’t like you to eat from the refrigerator, a cup-full of pudding.
  5. Here’s where I come to the defense of the Oreo. There are a lot of foods that just aren’t any good for you, no matter how much you squint your eyes. But, you’ve gotta treat yourself – even if that means 1-2 Oreos, instead of the ten that I want. I, as example, am on a calorie-conscious diet for my 2021 wedding. That just looks like me planning my foods during the day in a way that allows me to indulge in an after-dinner-Oreo.

Those three things (mindfulness, planning ahead, and portion control) are the keys to reaching your goals. There are a lot of diets out there that demand you to cut something out, or significantly decrease it from your diet. Those diets (looking at you, Keto) might help you shed some emergency pounds, but they’re very restricting and unhealthy for your body, your temple.

Whether you want to get on track to lose/gain weight, maintain your weight, or to build a healthier routine in eating, try planning ahead, being intentional, and controlling your intake. By doing those things, you can turn your “cheat,” into a [planned] “treat.”

Now, go get yourself an Oreo.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at https://kristinbeale.com/. Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90PRRC0002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.