Can Treats be Included in a health giving diet? 


I am often asked if “treats” can be included in a health giving diet.

What foods and drinks are treats? Do treats exist that are not food related? In fact what does a “treat” mean? One dictionary defined “treat” as “An event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure” another said it meant “an especially unexpected source of joy, delight, or amusement”

So the first part of the answer would be a definite “yes” to any treats that are events or things that are NOT food or drink.

The second part of the answer relates to how often you have the ”treat” food or drink.  So if you have chocolates, sweet foods, muffins, alcohol etc. most days or give them to your children most days then they are no longer treats; just everyday foods, treats needs to be rare, out of the ordinary or unexpected. A dear friend of mine who died last year told me of the delight of “a penny-lick” of ice cream which she would have as a child once or twice, if lucky, in the summer, incidentally the ice cream was about the size of an egg-cup. She lived to the grand age of 105 years, but remembered the pleasure all her life. Compare her experience to nowadays where children and adults no longer have this kind of a treat. Instead they overload with sweet sugary foods including ice cream all year long. We could say children are deprived of treats now.

There are so many items eaten as everyday foods in NZ today that damage the body; such as processed foods poor quality fats, sugary foods, fizzy drinks, alcohol, white flour, white bread, white rice. Many of these are called “treats” but are not treats at all.

If we had the treat foods and drinks twice a year as my friend did we may live to 105 too! At the very most think of including these treats once a month, or instead opt for a treat that isn’t related to your diet. Or perhaps have a health giving food that normally is beyond your budget or takes a longer time to prepare than your everyday food. That way you can have a treats and remember them for the rest of your life!