How Bad Can One Cookie Be?

Unhealthy snacking can be the great saboteur of an otherwise healthy eating plan. Often I speak with clients and friends who tell me that they start their day off right with oatmeal and berries, make sure they get their vegetables in at lunch and dinner by eating salads and veggie soups, only to be completely side-tracked mid-day and after dinner with unconscious eating that includes cookies, candy, chocolate and handfuls of nuts. The nuts are okay, but not by the bag full. So despite their efforts at making sure that they are meeting their vegetable, fruit and fiber requirements for the day, they still find themselves feeling sluggish, unfocused, depressed and unable to lose weight. Needless to say, they are also feeling frustrated.

Snacks can be tricky. We ask ourselves, ‘how bad can one cookie be?’ and the answer is—it depends.

One cookie often leads to two or three or even ten before we finally push the packet away in disgust. A cookie after lunch can be a catalyst to ice cream after dinner. And one 60 calorie cookie added to your diet every day, changing nothing else, can prompt you to gain 6 ¼ pounds at the end of one year. So as you see, one cookie can have consequences.

So the trick is to have these treats infrequently. Keep your home and office free of these snacks to avoid temptation. Like I tell my clients, once these foods are in the house, they call to you, they know you by name and they start talking to you in their own beguiling language. Once they are there, you’re done, unless you have the will of Hercules. But if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.

Instead, keep on hand healthy snacks that are available to you when you have a craving. Although an apple doesn’t come close to a Snickers Bar, it will definitely help you avoid the candy if you eat it first. If you make it a point to go for the healthy stuff, you are far less likely to give in to the sugary stuff. Being prepared is the key. Buy what you need for your home and office and make a commitment to yourself to eat the healthy snacks first, before giving in to temptation. Healthy snacking will elevate an otherwise average eating plan to a fantastic one.

Here are some healthy snacks to get you started. My favorite is the apple with almond butter. The sweetness of the apple combined with the protein and fat in the almond butter satisfies both sugar and fat cravings and delivers balanced, healthy energy. But remember, it has calories, so try not to exceed the one tablespoon serving size on the almond butter.


Healthy, Quick Snacks

  • Apple slices with 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Rice cake with 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Celery with 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4cup hummus and handful baby carrots
  • 10 olives
  • Piece of fruit and handful of nuts
  • 2 cups popped popcorn

Share Your Thoughts...

6 comments on “How Bad Can One Cookie Be?

  1. AvatarBob

    If you are active and you go to the gym and do cardio and you stay within your calorie limit, one cookie a day (taking that literally as meaning one cookie a day and not leading to other unhealthy snacking) is not going to kill you.

  2. AvatarJJ

    The snacks don’t talk to me… I’m not insane. You know who talks to me? Me! My ego telling me how wonderful I’ve been. “Yes, you are doing great. Go ahead a few of those ‘fun-size’ Snickers bars won’t hurt” HA! The biggest thing that’s helped with my snacking is my commitment to give up wheat and sugar this year. Now I don’t even think twice when I feel like I need something to eat. Now, that’s not to say I don’t occasionally have 2 TBSP of almond butter or more than 20 almonds but those moments are the exceptions too and usually because I missed breakfast or through some other poor planning. I’m partial to the apple with almond or peanut butter or just a handful of almonds. I think if I ever ate celerey I’d really feel like I was on a diet – feh!

    By the way Hercules had no will-power. I understand he had a sweet tooth and would indulge in baklava but since he was almost completely lean muscle he burned it off very quickly! 😉

  3. Avatarfrancesca

    I have definitely found that if I have carrots ad hummus or almond butter at hand ~ that they are are a great immediate snack. Thanks for the inspiration to renew that trend! Been a few too many coffees and cinnamon buns at my desk lately – which do nothing for me but make me completely anxious… ugh.

    Other snacks: During my Raw phase, I was introduced to stuffing dates with almonds as a substitute for chocolate. They are delicious – and if you are eating a pretty balance and healthy diet with lots of greens, I found that one or two easily takes care of the sugar cravings I got. If not, then they can become moreish and you can make yourself equally sick on them as you would a bar (or two) of Lindt 🙂 You can prepare two or three and keep them with you. A lot of the health stores have dates covered in coconut shavings too.

    I also love fresh Figs ~ which are sweet and light!

  4. AvatarAnonymous

    Other snacks, although I eat dairy & wheat: plain yogurt with fresh fruit, edamame, apple with a slice of cheese, homemade granola bar, baked sweet potato 'fries'.

  5. AvatarAnonymous

    Thank you Barbara for the recomendations about “snacks”. I find that I must have something sweet after my meals and I will try very hard to fallow your advice. The apple and almond butter sounds good! I have put a lot of weight on over the winter and I must try to get rid of it ! You truly inspire me! Thaks again! J.G.


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