Healthy Cooking Thursday: Strategies for Indulgence


Oreos and Milk for SnackHappy 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?

8 responses to “Healthy Cooking Thursday: Strategies for Indulgence”

  1. Marsha says:

    Love your tips, Lisa. Especially “if it’s not what you want, don’t eat it!” Amazing how we forget that basic sense when we’re caught up in deprivation. It really does serve us well, though.

    Happy International No-Diet Day to you, too!

  2. Chef Lisa says:

    You bring up a great point, Em. It’s a good idea if you’re going to make a rich dessert to throw in something for its nutritional value, whether it be fruit, veggies (ie shredded zucchini or carrots), nuts, or whole grains, like oatmeal. I adore oatmeal chocolate chip with dried cherries and slivered almonds…might have to make some this weekend!

  3. Chef Lisa says:

    PS I celebrated the holiday today by eating half of a piece of homemade, beautiful chocolate cake, then putting away the remainder when I was done. It’s so nice to not feel overstuffed, and know that there’s more if I want it at some point.

  4. Emily says:

    Yeah, Lisa! Great ideas. I love the idea of fresh baked cookies in reasonable portions. Once I baked oatmeal choc chip cookies, froze them and would microwave a few at a time when I wanted something sweet. It was really nice knowing they were when if I wanted them. The key part being… when I wanted them!

  5. Laura says:

    Thanks for the tips Lisa!

  6. Cindy says:

    Sometimes we’re afraid that if we have goodies in the house we’ll mindlessly eat them, and sometimes that happens. But, I also believe that knowing foods you enjoy are just a cupboard away can take the romance out of your desire to over-indulge.

    Lis, I love your idea of incorporating good bits in with the naughty bits. That cookie recipe sounds wonderful.

  7. Sunday update & links « Change Is Possible says:

    […] Strategies for Indulgence from A Weight Lifted […]

  8. Matt C says:

    Love the idea of an International No Diet Day….didnt know it existed! Wouldnt it be great if everyday was a no-diet day and we could all get back to enjoying food in a relaxed and meaningful way and feel good about ourselves at the same time. Thanks for taking the approach you do, and all your useful tips

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