Taking back control from your ‘sinful’ favorite foods

by Kellie Dye

What is your favorite food? Is it decadent and sinful? Is it a food that you will only allow yourself to eat once in a great while? I decided to take a very unofficial, nonscientific poll of favorite foods. I put the question out into cyberspace and sat back to see what would happen.

So I was expecting a favorite foods list to look something like this: ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate, bacon, etc. – you know what I mean. Much to my surprise, more people chose a fruit or vegetable over sweets or fried foods. It should be noted that the fruit or vegetable mentioned was local and in season: Arkansas grown tomatoes in the summertime, fresh local peaches, strawberries, watermelon and blueberries, to name a few.

This gives me great hope. After a day full of nutrition consults, I often wonder if anyone out there eats fruits and vegetables. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but sometimes I go days without hearing someone tell me that they eat fruits and vegetables. When I ask a client if they like fruit, they often say yes. Then when I ask them when they eat fruit, they often frown and can’t remember the last time they ate a piece of fresh fruit.

Sure, most of us like fruit, but how often do we go to the trouble to buy it and eat it? It sure is easier to grab a snack cake than it is to peel an orange or cut up a watermelon.  

If my unofficial poll is any indication, maybe we should make it a point to go the extra mile and pick peaches at the orchard or grow tomatoes in the backyard or actually peel an orange rather than grab a snack cake. Maybe if we intentionally eat the foods that we really love, we wouldn’t always be looking for the next snack. I’ve always believed that if we make room for favorite foods, then we would feel more satisfied.

OK, so not everyone claimed fruit and vegetables as their favorite food. Meats and pizza came in second place followed by sweets. Chocolate and ice cream were neck and neck. I got the impression that when people mentioned chocolate or ice cream, they immediately looked guilty and followed up with making sure that I knew that they rarely let themselves eat the offending food. That wasn’t the case with peaches or watermelon.  

It should be noted that many people polled in this survey knew that I was a nutritionist, which could have contributed to their feeling of guilt. Like I said, whether it’s chocolate, pizza or ice cream, we should make room for our favorite foods. When we deny ourselves the foods we really enjoy, we end up giving that food a lot more power than it needs. Deprivation can often lead to a binge of that food.

If your favorite food isn’t a super healthy food, make it work anyway. Giving yourself permission to eat the food takes the control and power away from the food and gives it back to you.  

By the way, my favorite food is sushi, and I was alone in that choice.