Ahhh youth… The sweet days blissful innocence. Where you thought that you would marry whoever was on the cover of Tiger Beat, that you could be the first veterinarian/ astronaut who won the Oscar for best leading actor, and that many of your favorite junk foods were actually good for you. For me, and many other adults with strong inner fat kids, one of the most sobering moments of growing up is when you realize that the foods you thought were so darn healthy will make you fat and lazy. Boo. Sure, we all knew that cookies and ice cream were an after dinner treat, and most of us knew that pizza, hot dogs, and burgers were only for parties and cook-outs because they weren’t a “super-food” as my mom would say, but who knew that spaghetti and cereal were actually bad for you? And so with a sad heart, here are the top 10 foods we adults are sad to see go out of our “healthy” food pyramid.
1. Loaded Baked Potato
A loaded baked potato, that seems like a good meal to me. You’ve got your protein (the cheese), the dairy (the sour cream), a little greenery (the chives), and the vegetable- the potato. Not to mention that it’s nearly all potato and so you’re eating mostly vegetables! YAY old food pyramid. I was so sad to find that not only that potatoes don’t digest in your body like other real vegetables, but loading one up can more than quadruple the calorie count:(
For me, this is probably the most depressing. I love noodles with my whole heart, and so when I found that I couldn’t eat noodles all the live long day… well, you might as well have ripped my heart out. BUT, what if I put lots of vegetables in my spaghetti? Sadly, you still need to watch how many noodles go in that bowl. Say goodbye to the innocent days of eating a large bowl of buttery noodles or mac and cheese while watching Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers.
3.Kids Cuisines and other frozen meals
Admit it, when you were able to magically microwave your own meal, you felt like a bad ass. You thought, “Hey being a grown up isn’t so hard. Look I just made my own meal and my own dessert!” But think about this long and hard. You got mac and cheese, corn, and a brownie. How the hell does that constitute a balanced dinner? That little penguin lied to you! But thank goodness we don’t have to eat those powdered mashed potatoes anymore. BLECH!
4.The things Mom did to make us eat our vegetables
When we’re kids, we would rather eat our own boogers than a stalk of broccoli, that is why good ol’ M.O.M. does some pretty unhealthy things to get us to eat them. Like…
a. DROWNING vegetables in Ranch Dressing. Yeah, we get the nutrients ofwhatever veggie we’re consuming but full fat ranch (as delicious as it is), has 145 calories in one serving. That’s one serving. A good drenching is about 5 servings. You do the math. Thinking about all of these calories is hard enough for me as it is.
b. Frying our vegetables. If you live down south, you know all about Fried Green Tomatoes (no, not just the book, we do actually eat them, and they are everything and more), Fried Okra, OR if I need to appeal to you Yanks, then what about Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion. Yes sir, we thought we were being SO healthy eating these delicious foods. Little did we know that frying pretty much negates any nutritional value a food has.
c.Cheese… lots and lots of cheese. Cheese and broccoli are the best combo ever. As an afternoon snack, I thought that I was so healthy because I would take a plate of Tostito Chips, sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese, a thin layer of broccoli, and another HEAPING layer of cheese and microwave that bad boy. Bad boy indeed. I was in the dark!
Now onto the most important class during your school day. LUNCH! You were no body unless you had a Lunchable, and what in the world could be wrong with that? You have everything- a meat, a cheese, and crackers… and if you got the later versions, you saw the advent of the cookie, mini-candy bar, and sometimes a Capr-Sun. BUT there were no vegetables or fruit AND the sodium content is 640 mg… and a child should eat no more than 1200 mg of salt a day… more than half your sodium intake in one meal? It’s not that bad for a 9 year old to have a heart attack, right?
6.Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
NOOOOO, not the PB&J! It’s the staple of every kid’s lunch since before the invention of the Sesame Street lunchbox! But we all know that Peanut Butter has a high fat content, and Jelly has an even higher sugar content. And the most delicious yet unhealthy is the Uncrustable PB&J Sandwich. They MUST put crack in there along with added sugars and preservatives to make me crave these still. No more Peanut Butter-Jelly Time… not even with a baseball bat:(
As kids we’re taught that soda is bad for us. Remember the experiment where we put a tooth in milk and another tooth in Diet Coke? Magically the tooth in the milk survives the night and the Diet Coke tooth turns into tooth juice! And so we are told to stick to Water, Milk, and Juice. BUT in all of our juice boxes and pouches, we have enough sugar added in to sweeten a whole batch of cookies! And so, the days of Juicy Juice, Capri Suns, and Sunny D are done for us adults.
We knew that potato chips and french fries are bad for us, but thought that crackers MUST be good for us. They have less flavor and they aren’t fried. Especially Wheat Things and Trisciuts because those are what my mom and dad eat at fancy parties. And we thought, “CLEARLY this is what skinny people eat!” WRONG! So many carbs… so much salt… and oddly enough so much sugar.
9.Anything with Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a healthy part of a balanced breakfast. Fact. But not everything made with oatmeal is good for you. But the dude who kinda looks like George Washington told me everything made with oatmeal is healthy, and he’s the father of our great nation. CLEARLY, I can trust him. NOPE! As kids, we actually thought that Oatmeal Raisin cookies were a good after school snack. Or how about Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pies. Another suitable snack? Come on, all of us wanted to be shrunken by our crazy fathers so that we could ride an ant and find a large oatmeal cream pie like in Honey I Shrunk the Kids. And the worst of the worst, is the Chewy Quaker Oatmeal Granola Bars. We think, “Granola bars, that’s HEALTH food… in fact that’s what the hippies in Portland eat… and hippies are health nuts.” Nope, it’s got sugar, sugar, salt, oh and more sugar. And it’s not that high in fiber content either. Wah Wah Waaaaah!
10. Breakfast Pastries
We all knew that doughnuts were a special treat and we couldn’t have them every morning. They’re super sweet, and so of course, they had to be bad for us. But what about muffins? Mmmm, nothing better than a fresh out of the oven, blueberry muffin. And it’s got fruit in it. It HAS to be good for us. Sadly as adults we find that even though something has fruit in it, it does not make the food healthy. But wait, what about bagels and cream cheese? But just like noodles, they have lots and lots of delicious starchy white carbs. DARN YOU PROCESSED REFINED FLOUR FOR BEING SO DELICIOUS AND YET SO UNHEALTHY (shaking fist at the sky optional).
And now, for the most depressing food of all to find is awful for you- CEREAL. I lived on Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Cracklin’ Oat Bran. And no matter what cereal you get, it’s not that great for you. Sure Cheerios might be a smidge better for you, considering it’s just whole wheat, but us Americans eat a bowl of Cheerios large enough to feed a small Ethiopian village.
But fear not. I’m not saying never to indulge your inner child and have that Toaster Strudel or Broccoli and Cheddar loaded Potato, but moderation is the key. As I teach the children at the preschool I do music at, “Not too big, not too little, right in the middle- Moderation!” Nevertheless, it still depresses me that I can’t have a big heaping bowl of Life Cereal without needing a nap later on. (LIGHTBULB) Now I get why we had nap time when we were kids.