Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Healthy Snacking: The Chicken, the Egg, or the Almond

The First Beautiful Daughter & The Favorite Son
Recently, I’d come home after dropping of or picking up one of my children to or from some activity or, perhaps, grocery shopping or running some errand, and I walked into the kitchen. I found The First Beautiful daughter doing homework at the dinner table. All manner of text books, work books, and notebooks occupied about two-thirds of the space. She was writing something on one of the pages.

None of this is particularly unusual; The First Beautiful Daughter is exceptionally responsible. Although she loaded up on honors and Advanced Placement classes this year, I continue find her name listed on the high school honor roll when it’s published in the local paper.
 When I saw my lovely young lady working at the table, I permitted myself a self-satisfied smile. However, the reason for my smile was as much for my admiration for The First Beautiful Daughter’s work ethic as it was for the snack she enjoyed while she worked: she nibbled from an open bag of roasted, lightly salted almonds.

I don’t know if it’s the chicken or the egg, but The First Beautiful Daughter is, in fact, beautiful, physically, fit, and intelligent. Her snack decision, rather than a high carbohydrate and/or high sugar content snack, she made the healthier choice of a high protein, low carbohydrate food. Is she beautiful, fit, and intelligent because she makes good eating decisions, or does she make good food choices because she is beautiful, fit, and intelligent?
Better than high carbohydrate snack foods: roasted and lightly salted whole almonds
Rather than eating a one ounce bag of a processed snack food like, for instance, FUNYUNS, which contains 18 grams of carbohydrates, essentially no fiber, and very little in the way of vitamins and minerals, the equivalent serving of almonds has less than a third of the carbohydrates, 16-fold the dietary fiber, three times the protein, and a quarter of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin E and several minerals. At least as important, an ounce of almonds is real food, which may satisfy snack urge with just a few nuts. My daughter, or anyone, may need several extra calorie-laden ounces of a salty, processed snack food to get the same satisfaction.

No, I didn't have any FUNYUNS in the house, so The First Beautiful Daughter's choice wasn't quite so stark. Still, I did have some whole wheat pretzels and flavored mini rice crisps, which are relatively better than most other processed snack foods. Still, my young lady made a great choice.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s the egg or the chicken, and you, single father, can affect your children's choices. Before you reach for those bags of cheese doodles, potato chips, or other processed snack “food” at the grocery store, remember The Single Father’s Golden Rule, “If you don’t bring junk food home in your grocery bags, you and your children won’t eat it!” They'll see the decisions you'll make and, very likely, will emulate your behavior.
After all, the almond doesn't fall far from the tree.

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