Skinny Munchies

Skinny Munchies

From Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul

Skinny Munchies

Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, “No, thank you,” to dessert that night. And for what!

Erma Bombeck

Dieting is an embarrassing occupation, one I would really rather keep quiet about. My logic goes something like this: If no one sees me buying diet food, they certainly won’t notice the extra fifty pounds I’m hauling around on my 5’3” frame. Perhaps it isn’t the diet that’s as embarrassing as the failure to stay on the diet.

Discretion is essential when shopping, and knowing your way around the local grocery store is crucial. It’s reassuring to know where the Marshmallow Mateys are when you’re in a hurry for a nutritious breakfast. Or which aisle to avoid when toting a toddler with a long reach. Or where along the cookie aisle some teenage bag boy has stocked the Chips Ahoy.

After moving to a small town from a large metropolitan city, I was unable to locate a favorite low-cal snack in the local grocery store, so I decided to inquire at the register. Right away, a voice inside my head raised an alarm. Don’t do that, the voice warned. Just keep looking. It might be embarrassing if you ask and they don’t have it.

Oh, give me a break, I argued withmyself, I’m thirty years old. I can certainly ask for a product in a grocery store. I am an adult.

You really might want to think this through a bit more, dear, the voice wheedled.

Bug off, I answered.

At least I wasn’t talking out loud like the lady two aisles over debating whether Windex would kill the ants in her petunia bed.

At the checkout, a slim, young woman whose name badge read “Clarista” began checking out my groceries. I got my nerve up and leaned over the package of Ding-Dongs just crossing her scanner.

“Do you know if you carry Skinny Munchies?” I inquired.

Pausing in midscan, she replied, “Skinny what?” A tiny smile spread across her face.

“Skinny Munchies,” I answered, lowering my eyes in a flicker of panic. “They’re a Weight Watchers product, uh, little chips that are legal for Weight Watchers to, uh, snack on . . .”

“Oh, that’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard!” she exclaimed, breaking into a big grin and reaching for the large microphone stretched across her cash register. “Mr. Sidensticker,” she called with delight, “do you know if we sell something called Skinny Munchies?”

Mr. Sidensticker, the store manager stationed in the customer service booth one aisle away, reached for his microphone. “Skinny what?” he asked.

“Skinny Munchies,” she answered over the PA system, ignoring my stammered pleas to “never mind.”

“She says they’re a Weight Watchers product. Isn’t that cute?”

“Never heard of ’em,” Mr. Sidensticker’s voice boomed back. “Do they work?”

Feeling the amusement of every well-proportioned shopper standing in line behind me, I managed to choke out, “No, uh, uh, no, never mind . . . it’s not important.” Desperate for a quick exit, I grabbed my Cheez Doodles and Diet Orange Crush and began pulling them over the scanner myself.

“I don’t know, I’ll ask her,” Clarista’s voice echoed. Still holding down the “on” button of the microphone, she turned to interrogate me further, “Do they work?”

Shoppers throughout the store looked up to the speakers in the ceiling, anxiously awaiting an answer. Sucking in my stomach and pitching my Cini-Minis down the conveyer belt, I offered breathlessly, “Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it?” Rushing to scrawl out a check, I made my escape.

Never again would I argue with the smug voice that was smiling in my head and tut-tutting, I told you so! From now on, if I can’t find the diet product I’m looking for in the grocery store, I’ll save myself a grocery-cart-full of embarrassment and substitute a high-calorie equivalent.

Sally Clark

Amazing Apple Vinaigrette

MAKES 2 SERVINGS EACH SERVING: 0 GRAMS SATURATED FAT

1 handful of fresh parsley

¼ cup flaxseed oil

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup apple juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

Toss all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Serve with mixed greens.

Note: You can store this vinaigrette in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Reprinted from The Gold Coast Cure. ©2005 Andrew Larson, M.D., Ivy Ingram Larson. Health Communications, Inc.

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