Hungry Dads’ Top Nine Food Excuses (When you Need to Defend a Less-Than-Ideal Eating Habit)
By Hugh Gallon
Confession is good for the soul. But perhaps better for the soul is coming up with a great excuse to justify your decision. Here’s some ways you can convince your spouse (or yourself) that the wrong food choice, was perhaps the right food choice. To hear how these strategies and excuses held in the opinion of two real wives (of which was mine!), check out Episodes 9 and 21 of The Hungry Dads Podcast.
#1 Mental Health/Stress Eating. You love your wife and family so much – of course you worry. Even if you don’t look stressed, subconsciously maybe you are. Sometimes you need a little snack to take the edge off, and carrot sticks are not gonna cut it. Sample Scenario: A loved one was getting a fairly minor, routine medical procedure. During a two-hour wait at the hospital, I wasn’t particularly hungry but still ate a bag of chips, one bag of Swedish fish, one soda, and maybe also a candy bar.
#2 Lesser of Two Evils Theory. You’ve had a hard day. You deserve to relax with a stiff drink, but unlike snacks, alcohol is a “real” vice. And that big gourmet brownie would also relieve some stress. Sample Scenario: During a daily train commute, I often grab a fancy cookie ($2-$3 each). Neither a frugal nor healthy decision, but I also walk by a cart where you can get a $5 beer for the train. Passing up the beer, I am basically Mr. Responsibility.
#3 The Cancellation Method. If you’ve eaten some fruits or vegetables in the last 24 hours, you’ve surely earned a little snack. It’s a simple equation, “I had fruit for breakfast. Therefore, I have earned this [bacon hot dog/ fried cheese/ sundae/ cinnamon pretzel] before lunch”
#4 Leveraging your Child’s Allergy. If you have a nut-allergic kid, you probably don’t keep peanut butter or peanut candy in the house. You’re basically being heroic in your daily restraint. You need to seize those snacks when your children aren’t around and at risk. Sample Scenario: A few times a week, I go to the newsstand outside my office for a candy bar. I almost always get a Butterfinger, Snickers, Payday, Reese’s, or peanut brittle to help justify the snack and express how much I love my daughter.
#5 Economic Argument. Anytime it’s cheaper to get the bigger portion, you’d be a fool not to do it. Sample Scenario: At the movies, I will always take the “for 50 cents more” up-sale on sodas and popcorn. I will also try to finish the soda and popcorn before the movie and get my free refill early in the move as to make sure that I get my money’s worth.
#6 Cook it Up, Eat it Up. Foods are presumed to be healthier and less of an indulgency if you prepare them yourself. After all you burned all of those calories baking – but he portions are also more within your control. If you eat the whole thing, it’s sort of like like it never happened. Sample Scenario: An entire cake in one weekend – On more than one occasion, I’ve been alone for a weekend and baked a full cake, then snacked on it. Sometime before the end of the weekend, I’d notice that I’d eaten an inordinate amount of the cake on my own (more than half). So, rather than stop eating and explaining the remaining cake to my wife, I’d power through and finish the whole thing before she got home, wash the dishes, and never speak of it.
#7 Lean into that Delivery Minimum – You have to meet the dollar amount for the minimum delivery order and one entrée won’t be enough. Fortunately leftovers never go to waste in my home. Sample Scenario: When I order Chinese food for delivery and I’m on my own, I almost always order two entrees and/or an appetizer. Sure, I feel a sting of shame when I see two sets of plastic-ware and two fortune cookies in the bag. But who can choose between General Tso’s and MuShu?
#8 Strategic Snack Hiding and Hording. Have you ever “accidently” put your favorite snack on a high shelf? Maybe behind a few things? Only pull it out when nobody is watching? Then somehow you single-handedly ate all of it? It’s not your fault nobody else knew it was there. Fortune favors the bold! Sample Scenario: When visiting my family over the holidays, I located my mother’s homemade Chex mix (my all-time favorite) and shoved it to the back of the shelf. I did this so that the “leftovers” (in this case all of it) would go home with me. My plan worked, it wasn’t put out.
#9 Binge for the greater good. Sometimes your house ends up with an uncommon bounty of junk food – bags of chips, cookies, candy, and other snacks that you would never normally have. Just convince yourself that rather than pacing it out over time and making the snacks last, it is more responsible to eat it all with reckless abandon. When the stuff is out of the house, you can start eating responsibly (maybe even really diet) without temptation. Plus, your family won’t eat that poison. It’s almost like you are taking a bullet for them. Sample Scenario: Holidays, care packages, and parties always bring a plethora of snacks and leftovers that would never be on the weekly shopping list. If you have to get it out the house, just bring the food to work “to share.” If the stuff never makes it out of your own office/desk, who’ll know?
Hugh Gallon is a dad. A hungry dad. He can be heard on the podcast Hungry Dads, available in iTunes and at www.hungrydads.com