How to reward yourself

         I was talking with some young parents recently and mentioned that I think that even if you banned junk food from your house completely (which I was not advocating) I think children would still be eating way, way too much garbage just from what they get while away from home.
         It seems that the cop out easy way to celebrate anything special is to feature unhealthy treats. Whether it is an end of year school party, a soccer game, a church event or a good report card we usually reward it with fat and sugar laden prepared foods.
         I picked up my grand-daughter from her nursery school class yesterday and they were having pizza, brownies, cupcakes and ice-cream to celebrate the end of the year. We had been asked NOT to send lunches yesterday or today because they had lunch planned. (And today’s lunch was the leftover brownies, cupcakes and ice-cream. No more pizza)
         In talking this situation over with my daughter (the dietician) she said she hopes to reward her future children in ways other than food. You got an A on your math test- let’s go for a family walk. You had your end of the year chorus performance- let’s go bowling to celebrate. When you think about it time together and a fun activity really are more rewarding than junk food.
         And so your challenge this week is to find one thing to celebrate each day (either something personal or an accomplishment of a loved one) and find a way to celebrate without unhealthy food. Here’s a few ideas. Please post any ideas of your own!
1. Music! How about an instant dance party with your favorite music? I recently read that one family’s favorite memories involved impromptu dance celebrations in the kitchen. “Suzy got an A on her project so let’s all dance!”
2. Hugs - lots of them . I have given the challenge before to hug others until THEY let go and it is a good one.
3. Shopping. No you don’t have to buy expensive beyond budget items. Little children love having a dollar to spend at the dollar store or the Target dollar area. And even adults enjoy small luxuries like a new nail polish or kitchen gadget.
4. Purchase a new magazine that looks interesting or go to the library (or bookstore) or browse red box and rent a movie.
5. To get yourself laughing until you cry watch videos of your favorite comedians on YouTube. My current favorites are Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan. What a reward and treat laughing is.
6. Drop by your favorite thrift store and see if you can find a bargain on something that you need.
7. Take a bubble bath or a long shower. Luxuriate a bit!
8. One of my favorite indulgences is Sonic ice. They sell it by the bag and I just love filling my glass nearly full of ice, Mio and water. Ahhhhh!
9. Watch a healthy eating documentary on Netflix. I find them so inspiring and have recently enjoyed several
10. Listen to a Ted talk or Podcast on a topic that interests you. Yes new ideas can be a treat to the brain!
Yes it is wonderful to mark special events, note even our tiniest accomplishments and appreciate when it’s time to take a bow. But we really don’t need to always show our joy through cake and ice cream. We can find better ways to pat ourselves and others on the back!
And how did we ever choose a carrot at the end of a stick as something to lure us to do something? I am traveling and at the mercy of a family member’s refrigerate. With no car yesterday the ONLY vegetable I could find in the house was carrots so I had to eat 1 ½ cups to get in my daily veggies. Yuck. Now a Klondike bar on the end of a stick might lead me to do anything.

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