I haven’t ranted on this blog for a while so indulge me while I have a go at my latest bugbear – the so called “Healthy Food Swap”.
It’s everywhere. In leaflets my son brings home from school, in magazines, on web sites…at the supermarket. Everywhere I look I am being urged to swap crisps for carrots and biscuits for apples. Although I understand the underlying principle and agree that it’s better for our health – and to some extent weight – to eat more fresh foods and less of the processed stuff, this type of message makes me want to scream and tear my hair out and rant. So it’s a good thing I have this blog to vent my frustration!
Do they really think that people are so ignorant? Do they really imagine that someone about to dive headlong into the biscuit tin is suddenly going to decide to opt for carrot sticks instead? That all they needed was a reminder because they’d forgotten all about the existence of carrot sticks? Isn’t that just missing the point? Frankly if I’ve had a crap day and want to drown my sorrows in a bag of chocolate buttons, a fistful of dried apricots just ain’t gonna cut it, Mr. Government-Healthy-Eating-Campaign-man – no matter how many times you shove your healthy tips in my face!
As usual, this type of diet advice completely ignores the fact that 99% of us know very well that a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice is better for us than a bucketful of Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream, mini mallows and chocolate shavings…or is it? What if a Caramel Frappuccino with all the trimmings hits the spot? What if it’s exactly what I fancy, right now, right here. What if it’s part of a healthy, balanced diet which includes lots of apples, oranges and carrots (just not in this precise instant). What if I really fancy something creamy and smooth? How is an acidic, lumpy glass of orange juice going to help? Maybe I’ll just have to eat a double choc chip muffin to take the edge of it – a muffin I wouldn’t have had if I’d stuck to the Frappuccino. Back to square one….
Worse, and even more ludicrous are these “Healthy Swap Tips” I saw in a magazine recently:
“Replace spaghetti with thinly cut ribbons of courgette and serve with Bolognese sauce.”
“Swap bread soldiers with your boiled egg for celery sticks.”
I mean, come on! Spaghetti and bolognese…soft boiled eggs and toast – these are foods made for each other, they have been married for ever. They are classics, eaten by generation after generation, in the four corners of the world. Seriously, WHO is going to swap spaghetti for courgette ribbons??! Spag bol is spag bol, if I want courgettes, there are a million ways to eat them that don’t involve smothering them in a sauce intended for pasta. Same with celery. Quite apart from the fact that the idea of celery dripping in egg yolk makes my stomach churn, surely there’s better things to do with celery than dunking it in a boiled egg?
So please Ms. Resident Nutritionist at the magazine I won’t name because some of the recipes are fab – choose some other foods to pick on and spare us your weird and improbable swaps.
Rant over. Thank you for listening.