Diet Treats

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Having A Treat Should Be Special

By Bonnie Pfiester of

When I was a little girl, I used to spend Friday nights with my grandparents. Every once and a while, my grandfather would take me to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone - sometimes he’d even let me get it dipped! I remember how special each trip was. I enjoyed every bite of my ice cream because it wasn’t something we did very often.

Part of the treat was how my grandfather made me feel. I can still remember his smile while he watched me eat my ice cream. I know I must have been beaming as I chomped into the hard chocolate shell covering the soft-serve ice cream. I smiled partly because I loved the way it tasted, but mostly because my mom told me Granddad rarely let her get the chocolate dipped cone which made me feel even more special.

Back then, my grandmother prepared every meal at home. Dinner was on the table at 5:30pm sharp – you could practically set your clock by it. When my grandfather would take us all out to eat, it was a big deal. It was not only a treat for everyone who went to dinner, but it was like giving my grandmother the night off as the family cook. It was appreciated by all.

Times are different nowadays. Treats are expected and eating out is a way of life. Increased choices and larger sizes have caused us to have greater expectations and less appreciation for the small things. So how can we reverse our thinking?

Maybe we should rethink the term ‘special treat’. Webster defines treat as “an especially unexpected source of joy, delight, or amusement”. Webster defines special as “being other than the usual”. So, if we have a special treat it means it should be unexpected and unusual.

Even a simple soda used to be special and unusual once upon a time. Let’s rewind fifty years. People used to leave the house to get a soda. Soda shops were the “it place” to meet friends. Can you imagine that now? People would laugh if you asked them to meet you for a coke.

What has changed? The first thing that has changed is our view on food and drinks. Sodas are viewed as a staple beverage instead of the treat it once was. Secondly, limitations are not set in the home. If sodas, ice cream and other snacks were limited they would become treats again.

Lastly, we’ve lost the definition of what a treat really is. Define treats by listing all foods and drinks that have little to no nutritional value. Put the list on the refrigerator labeled ‘treats’ for the family to see. Daily treats should be limited to 150 calories or less and treats over 150 calories should be saved for once a week. Remember, a treat is special is when it’s unexpected and unusual.

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