Let Them Eat Chips - MetroFamily Magazine
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Let Them Eat Chips

by Mari Farthing

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

We went to a friend’s birthday party at a local Mexican restaurant. There, I encountered my nemesis. My Voldemort. The Wicked Witch to my Dorothy. My kryptonite.

Chips and queso. Crunchy, salty carbs and creamy, melty cheese. Oh! Lunches and dinners of the past have included at least two baskets of crunchy goodness and two … sometimes three little tubs of melty goodness. Before the entrée came.

Navigating the basket of chips can be difficult for someone avoiding carbs. I have to repeat to myself that I cannot properly process insulin; eating too many chips is like dumping cupfuls of sugar into my bloodstream. I might enjoy the consumption, but after, the price will be sluggishness and discomfort—and if I did that too often, the results could be even worse.  These are the thoughts I try to keep in mind as I sip my water and try to ignore the siren song of those chips.

But it was when my daughter, she of the naturally fast 8-year-old metabolism, was eating her chips and queso. She matched up two of them on her little plate and said: “Look! It’s a whole tortilla!”

So let’s do the math: 2 chips = 1 tortilla = (roughly) 100 calories + 20g carbs

In the past, I wouldn’t think twice of tearing through that basket, eating at least half of it; before this dinner, I knew I’d be faced with chips and ate a light lunch accordingly. I had a good handful of chips, a fraction of what I might have had in the past, but still more than I know is a healthy portion. And I load up on salsa (tomatoes and peppers are so good for your heart) and try to go easy on the cheese.

But splurges are a part of life; everyone should be able to splurge on chips and cheese every now and then, because it’s not feasible to think that people can live within strict guidelines all the time. I know I can’t. I splurge all the time—but I make smart splurges. If I want something sweet, I opt for dark chocolate instead of gummy bears or milk chocolate. If I want a cocktail, I opt for red wine instead of a margarita. But I reserve the right to have a margarita if I really, really want one.

It’s a matter of knowing how your body will be affected by the choices you make, and making choices accordingly. And you have to adjust for splurges. If I’m going to have a big lunch, I plan on a salad for dinner. If I partake of a donut with my morning coffee, I balance it with more protein and salad to make up for that splurge. And I try to stick with just one donut instead of two.

Being aware of the ingredients in your food and how they will impact your body and nutrition is imperative in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For too long, I’ve been living a life where I would just grab it off the shelf and eat it when I was hungry, but I realize now that being healthy means being mindful.

Sometimes that means getting more information than you care to have (like learning that your lunch included over a thousand calories in chips alone), but knowledge is power. So let the chips fall where they may—as long as they don’t all fall on my plate.


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