Junking The Junk Food

My Mom and I sat in the back seat of the car reading magazines as we journeyed back from Charlottesville earlier this week. She has always enjoyed finding new bits of info on how to be healthier and now that’s something we share. It was fun to discuss what we found and educate each other. She read prevention and updated me on the latest from Dr Oz. I perused the pages of September 2012’s Women’s Day and was fascinated by the “Eating With Joy” column on Nutrition.

A reader (Gayle McKinney) had posed this question to nutrition expert Joy Bauer, RD: “When I get upset I tend to eat junk food. How can I stop?”

Joy had a nice answer that included forms of physical activity, no calorie beverages and healtier snack foods. I agree with Joy’s advice to “get physical” but think the first part of the response should have been “Don’t buy junk food or anything that resembles it!” and “Don’t eat for any reason other than hunger.” Instead Kind Bars and Sun Chips were recommended. The Kind Bar may be healthier and more filling than a Snickers and the Sun Chip fewer empty calories and carbs  than potato chips but If the same behavior of feeding emotions continues the weight and health problems will too.

I am only realizing as I’m writing this that there are “healthy” foods that have made their way into my home that really should be on my “no purchase list” along with candy bars and ice cream. If I don’t buy it, I can’t eat it. So I don’t buy cupcakes, cookies, and the like but I have been buying these delicious chocolate oat bars that I want to eat like cookies – by the plate full. My snack basket that use to be filled with 100 calorie snacks is inching up into the 120, 140, 160 calorie range and with more sugar than I had really noticed, and I have been guilty of using these faux candy bars to meet more needs than just hunger.

Anxiety needs outlets. Handball, jumping jacks, zumba, a massage or a warm bath but “Step away from the snacks, people!” Why do we have such a hard time not using food to fill our emotional needs? Lets not make “better junk” substitutions. Lets end the behavior.

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