Let fruit lead the morning meeting

April 29, 2001|By Claudia Van Nes | Claudia Van Nes,THE HARTFORD COURANT

I served fruit the other day at a meeting of our local land trust board, and everyone survived.

This is not as insignificant as it may sound. Ever since I went to a hotel several weeks ago to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of munching your way through a day of seminars, I've been thinking about other such traps we, the overweight, can fall into.

What the diet industry mostly lays out for us is ways to prepare low-calorie meals and snacks and how to steel yourself for restaurant visits and holiday meals.

But just like the diet gurus don't deal much with those muffin-laden, hotel-based conferences, they also don't talk much about all the gatherings that go on in homes and church basements.

Many of us belong to something or other that meets monthly. There are PTA meetings, bridge and garden clubs, moms' groups, book discussion groups, support groups, boards and much, much more.

At all these meetings, there is food. It doesn't matter if the thing is held after dinner, as is frequently the case, there's still stuff to eat.

At these land trust board meetings, for instance, which are held in board members' homes, coffee and tea and a plate of cookies, tea bread and / or muffins are always provided.

The thin people don't usually eat the food or they take a muffin because they're hungry, which is the only legitimate reason to do so -- but one far removed from the way we overweight people behave.

And, I haven't mentioned by far the worst scenario. You bring the muffins to the meeting because it's your turn, and there are plenty left. The hostess says, "Take them home for your family."

You rationalize this would be a wise move and on the way home, having spent two hours warding off even a muffin nibble, you rip off the aluminum foil in the car and inhale three of them in a row, end up with a lap full of crumbs and a head full of self-loathing.

If this kind of thing has never happened to you, go ahead and eat the darn muffins because you don't have a problem.

The rest of us need to fix this kind of situation for ourselves.

I'm not talking here of social occasions when serving just a plateful of sliced oranges and some grapes would truly go against acceptable conduct. I'm talking of all those other times.

I'm suggesting we put out fruit and / or vegetables. Period.

These gatherings are seldom at mealtime. No one will starve. At the board meeting at my house the other night, the fruit was eaten, the work got done, and I'm pretty sure no one thought ill of me. The thin didn't care, one hopes those who need to watch it were grateful, and I didn't need to clear away a loaf of zucchini bread and all the temptations that go with it.

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