Healthy Cooking Thursday: Strategies for Indulgence

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Happy International No Diet Day, everyone!  Started in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, the director of Diet Breakers in the U.K., this holiday seeks to do what we at Green Mountain at Fox Run try to do on a daily basis: help people practice permission in regards to food consumption, and let go of diet mentality.  While eating healthy food is the focus of our culinary program, another important aspect is teaching women it’s okay to eat reasonable portions of decadent delights from time to time, too.  And part of celebrating International No Diet Day is allowing yourself to eat something “naughty” (well, and to stop calling it “naughty”, for that matter! :)).  With that in mind, here are some of my tips for enjoying a reasonable indulgence from time to time.

  • Make great choices.

We’ve all been there…usually an office party, or a school event, you see that buttercreamy yellow sheet cake which you know was bought at the local supermarket.  You don’t even like yellow cake or buttercream, but it’s there, and it’s sweet, so why not?  If it’s not what you want, don’t eat it.  I know, easier said than done.  But it can be very empowering to walk away from a mediocre cake and then later pick up that one serving size cup of luxurious ice cream or bakery fresh eclair that you were truly craving. 

  • The freezer is your friend.

One of the problems with loving to bake is that I love to eat what I bake.  Luckily, I’ve learned some tricks to prevent myself from going overboard.  When I make cookie dough, I portion the dough with a one tablespoon scoop, put the rounds in one layer on a baking pan, and put the pan in my freezer.  When they’re solid, I transfer the frozen cookie dough to labelled containers and return them to the freezer.  When I want fresh baked cookies, I pull three out of the freezer, thaw them, and bake them off.  (Scone dough freezes well, too.)  When I make cake, I use a quarter cup scoop to make cupcakes, and freeze them individually.  That way I can pull them out of the freezer in the morning and enjoy them after dinner.  I am fully mindful of exactly how much will be available for me to eat, and I can also be sure that there are no weird artificial ingredients in my rich dessert.

  • Be honest with yourself.

The most important part of practicing with permission is being honest with yourself about your portion sizes.  You know in your heart of hearts that eating half a lemon meringue pie in one sitting is not the best thing for your health.  But it’s not the end of the world, either.  To err is human.  You just need to get back on the horse and practice permission again.  If you’re worried about being able to only consume a small portion of a “naughty” food, you’re not alone.  Binge eating is the most common eating disorder, yet the least talked-about.  Staying away from certain foods that you deem “bad”, but feel so good to you, may make you feel deprived, which can lead to a binge further down the road.  If you can learn to make good choices in regard to portion size and frequency of indulgence, you will be in charge of your eating.  And that’s a very liberating feeling!

How will you be celebrating No Diet Day?

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