Television. The thing that normally keeps me (and most people) from doing anything healthy. The thing that helped me become my wonderful blubbery self. Sitting in front of the TV with a tub of ice cream? Of course, what else do I have to do? So why talk about it regarding health? Because it’s my new reason to run (well, meander at a brisk pace).
I hate just looking in front of me when at the gym. Watching a wall, or staring down my timer on the treadmill willing it to reach a set time is miserable. And if I have to look at other people who are also attempting to do something healthy? Gross- no one likes that. Having a distraction is key to getting me to do just about anything. Now, I’ve heard “fitness people” say you need to focus on what you’re doing: heart rate, pace, breathing. And if you can force yourself to do things while counting beats or breaths, have at it. I, however, am not that person. I would never do any exercise if I had to pretend to care about counting (I don’t like numbers and math is evil). So having something that forces me to run, and does not involve me downing a pound of ice cream as a “reward”, is a win-win for me.
I attempt to find shows that I enjoy that have multiple seasons. That way I know it will cover multiple sweat sessions. I then reserve this show for JUST exercise watching. That way when I really want to see an episode, I have to hope on the treadmill or elliptical to watch it. And there are times when I REALLY don’t want to haul my butt into the gym, but I do it because I HAVE to know what’s going to happen next on the show I’m watching. I know that I could sit down and watch that show anytime I want, but because I made myself a promise to watch it only when I run- I hold myself to it.
Finding a motivation outside of just fitness inspires me. Yes, I want to be healthy. And yes, I want to lose weight. But that doesn’t always inspire me to get running (jogging, walking, meandering). If I have multiple things that inspire me to get fit, I have more of a reason to actually get my heart rate up. And if television is what’s going to inspire me to be healthy, I say more power to me.
Adding vegetables to things usually seems like a great, healthy idea. But what about when they put them in packaged food- does it make it better for you? I assumed it did, so I tried Veggie Straws- like potato chips but better for you because vegetables! But was it better for me?
When I saw veggie straws, I was thinking: vegetables. When you look at the bag, it has a nice picture of a potato, tomato, and some spinach. So you think “hey, those things look healthy”. You can also see the potato just “peeking out” behind the healthy stuff, like an afterthought:
Hey, they made these out of vegtables! They’re a healthy snack! Easy to eat, and good for you! However, if you read the ingredients, the truth is far different. These are technically potato straws that someone threw vegetables on as an afterthought. The first 3 ingredients are potato starch, potato flour, and corn starch.
There are then some vegetable products, but they are not the primary ingredients. Many people will argue that a potato is a vegetable, but in meals is most often used to replace a starch like break, pasta, etc.
So if Veggie Straws are close to potato chips, how do they stack up against the traditional snack? Am I better off just eating the regular old potato chip? Or do the Veggie Straws allow me to be a health expert who gets to lecture you in condescending tones on my superior snack choice? Let’s examine the nutrition facts:
Verses Lay’s Potato Chips:
And Baked Lay’s:
Right off the bat you can see that the Veggie Straws have a much higher sodium count. Now, to be fair, I cover vegetables in all kinds of stuff to make them taste less like sadness. It’s how life works. Things that taste amazing are not as good for you as things that taste like dirt. There’s nothing wrong with dressing things up. Everything is better with butter and cheese. But when you increase certain things that are bad for you, but market it as a healthy alternative, you aren’t being honest. Which isn’t odd for a business, but still annoying.
Examining the nutritional facts also shows that the differences are not that awe inspiring. Veggies Straws shows that they only have 7 grams of fat verses the 10 grams of fat in potato chips. I found that interesting, and wanted to know how Veggie Strips are prepared. They are fried, not baked. This is once again interesting when they want to sell you on their product being healthy. But when you compare Veggie Straws to Baked Lay’s, the potato chips have only 2 grams of fat- and no saturated fat! The fried potato chips have the most saturated fat, but the Veggie Straws also contain some “bad fat”. But Baked Lay’s contain none, which makes them the winner in that category.
The final test is nutrients. I would assume (and I think most people would) that the Veggie Straws have the most vitamins. And I would be wrong. This is what surprised me the most. They have vitamin C and Iron, and a very small amount of fiber. Regular Lay’s Potato chips have Vitamins E, C, and B6. The same is true of Baked Lay’s.
Overall, Veggie Strips grab you by claiming they have vegetables. Your mind thinks “hey, vegetables are good for you! And I like chips! I bet if they add vegetables to chips they taste amazing but are good for me! I’ll buy these and be healthy!” But you would be wrong. They want you to assume they are good for you because they threw some veggies on potato straws and called it a day. But when examining the nutrition facts, you can see that the straws are not any better for you than regular potato chips. And if you go with baked potato chips, those have less fat and more vitamins than the Veggie Straws. Overall, you’re better off buying baked potato chips than you are getting a vegetable/potato snack. And then you CAN be a health expert who gets to lecture people in condescending tones on superior snack choices- while eating potato chips. It’s a win-win!!