ANN BAILEY: When it comes to eating, sometimes you have to live a littleI likejunk food. While many people turn up their noses at hot dogs, I confess I like them, especially if they’re slathered with ketchup, mustard and relish. Add a bag of chips and a Mountain Dew to the meal and I’m consuming my dream combo.
By: Ann Bailey, Grand Forks Herald
I used to think that fall and winter were a challenge when it comes to trying to eat healthy. Between church suppers and holiday dinners, temptation seemed to lurk around every corner.
Now that I have children who like to go to summer events and are involved in sports, I’ve learned that potential diet disasters also abound during the summer: taco in a bag, hot dogs and fry bread, just to name a few.
And that’s the healthy stuff available at fairs, festivals and baseball games. Chips, candy and pop also are plentiful. So are fried things on a stick, mini doughnuts and sugary slushies.
Now if I had more willpower, I would bring my own healthy food, such as a water-packed tuna sandwich with yogurt, a bag of veggies and a bottle of water with me in a cooler to the summer events.
But I don’t, and the truth is, I like the junk food. While many people turn up their noses at hot dogs, I confess I like them, especially if they’re slathered with ketchup, mustard and relish. Add a bag of chips and a Mountain Dew to the meal and I’m consuming my dream combo.
I know it’s not good for me, and I don’t make a steady diet of it, but I really do enjoy not only that trio of foods, but also fry bread tacos and taco in a bag, and figure I have an excuse to eat it when I’m attending a Little League game or an event such as the recently held Larimore (N.D.) Days in my hometown.
Top one of those combos off with a Mountain Dew and a candy bar and I’m in junk food heaven.
Mountain Dew has been my daily indulgence since I was in college. I know it’s high in caffeine and sugar, so I limit myself to one a day. I know I’m not addicted because I don’t have any serious withdrawal symptoms if I happen to miss a day. It’s also a personal rule that I never drink Mountain Dew before noon.
Nor will I eat chocolate chip cookies, another one of my weaknesses before 12 p.m. I know that there’s probably no difference between eating a chocolate doughnut or a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast, but psychologically, I just can’t stomach eating cookies before lunch.
Now after lunch is a different story. It’s long been a daily ritual of mine to have a Mountain Dew and some other sweet treat between 2 and 3 p.m. I prefer chocolate chip or M and M cookies, but if our cookie jar is empty, I’ll settle for a candy bar such as a Hershey’s, Kit-Kat or Twix.
If you’ve noticed a definite chocolate theme in my snacking, you’d be right. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved chocolate. I enjoy not only eating it, but making cookies, cakes and desserts that feature it. My recipe box is stuffed with chocolate recipes of every kind. Some of them I’ve tried, but many of them I haven’t. I periodically go through the box and weed out the ones I’ve never used to make room for more.
Besides a good-sized collection of recipes from magazines and the newspaper, I also have a pretty good-sized library of cookbooks.
Like other cooks I know, I think it’s simply fun to read recipes and cookbooks, much the same way I enjoy reading novels. Although I generally make desserts that don’t require a lot of time to make, I occasionally like to for fun try some of the complicated recipes and see how closely my attempts mirror the photos in the cookbook.
One of the most memorable compliments I received for my baking, came even before anyone tasted my banana dessert when one of my nieces exclaimed, “That looks just like the picture on the magazine cover.”
The downside of having a sweet tooth, of course, is the extra calories that they contain. I have to make a concerted effort to offset my consumption of treats with exercise. Fortunately, I have horses, dogs and children to take care of and a big lawn and garden to tend. Keeping up with them keeps me moving and burning off calories.
I also try to eat my sweets in moderation and back off if I feel like I’m putting on some extra pounds. Recently, for example, I decided to quit eating my mid-morning treat of a doughnut or muffin because a few pounds had crept on. I also cut back on consumption of desserts after my evening meal. I try to go on a bike ride with my daughter, Ellen, or a walk with her and Rosebud, her golden retriever, instead.
I’m still hanging on to my mid-afternoon Mountain Dew and snack and enjoying a hot dog, taco in a bag or burger when I’m out and about during the summer. As long as I’m healthy and active, I figure it’s OK to treat myself. If that changes I’ll dig out the insulated lunch bag and fill it with those water-packed tuna sandwiches.