by MELISSA GORDON
Cookie rice cakes and ice cream yogurt
For a long time I’ve had a secret nickname for flavored yogurt. I call it “ice cream yogurt” (have you ever looked at the sugar content in flavored yogurt?), but I’ve been reluctant to use that moniker anywhere but the safety of my own home for fear of being ruled a food extremist (or worse — a killjoy).
But I’m here today to go public with my nickname. Why the change of heart? Because I recently heard my good friend and fellow mom refer to flavored rice cakes as “cookie rice cakes.” Right on, Ruth!
If you are fighting even the slightest temptation to roll your eyes, consider this: Some flavored yogurts literally have more sugar than ice cream, and some flavored rice cakes literally have more sugar than cookies. (And I am not a millennial, so when I say “literally” I actually mean it.)
This is kind of a big deal. Yogurt and rice cakes are foods that most people would categorize as “health foods,” happily snacking away on them “guilt-free,” totally oblivious to the excessive amounts of sugar and corn syrup (not to mention other weird ingredients).
On the flip side, I am delighted whenever I recall the Australian term of endearment for fruit: nature’s lollies. I was doubly delighted when my daughter (who is not Australian) said to me the other day, “Can I have some banana candy?” and she was asking for an actual banana.
So the morals of this week’s foray into food are if you’re looking for a healthy snack, don’t cheat yourself with artificially flavored versions of the original, and if you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, don’t underestimate the ability of nature to do it for you. Reach for an apple instead of a cookie!
Six tips for truly healthy snacking
1. Switch to plain, organic yogurt. If it’s hard at first, sweeten it yourself with honey or fruit.
2. Switch to plain rice cakes. Top them with yogurt, nut butter, ricotta, avocado, hummus, or neufchâtel — trust me, they’ll do you much better than your daily 2 p.m. cookie.
3. Pack your lunch. Sliced apples, pears, carrots, oranges, cucumbers at the ready will prevent you from hitting up the vending machine.
4. Keep it simple. A handful of nuts in a ziplock bag. Done.
5. Couple up. Enjoy apples with cheese. Carrots with hummus. A tortilla with almond butter. Yum!
6. Satisfy a sweet tooth with fruit!