Confessions of a Perfectly Imperfect Dietitian Mom

This morning I was at a PTA meeting at my children’s school.  One of the moms had brought in some delicious looking {and delicious tasting from what I hear} chocolate chip bars.  The mom, knowing I’m a dietitian, mentioned to me, jokingly {I think!}, that she wouldn’t have served chocolate chip bars for breakfast if she had known I was going to be there.  Well…

Here’s the thing…

Had they been gluten-free, I DEFINITELY would have eaten one, and I would have enjoyed it, guilt free, because MOST mornings I eat pretty healthy foods for breakfast and NOT chocolate chip cookie bars…

It got me thinking, though, about my other perfectly imperfect confessions, so I thought I would share them here with you today.

After all, isn’t honesty the best policy?

At least most of the time???

Confession #1

Let me preface this, by telling you that I am currently preparing a talk for the parents at my children’s school on “Raising Lifelong Healthy Eaters” for next week.  For part of the talk, I plan on sharing ideas for fun, healthy, and creative meal and snack ideas with the parents.  Now, usually, I pride myself on sending my kids off to school with a  balanced, varied, healthy, and, dare I say, semi-creative lunch with the occasional treat thrown in.  Well, this morning, I was running WAY behind schedule,  so lunch had to be super quick.

Here’s what I packed: Each child got a banana and some popcorn along with slices of ham  and an apple for Big Tex, and cottage cheese and a tangerine for Sisi.

Well, some of you may say that it’s not the worst lunch in the world.  After all, everything was organic, the popcorn was GMO free, and the ham was free of added nitrates.

BUT, in my mind,  the lunch certainly wasn’t all that creative and could definitely use a little more variety, and perhaps a tad more balance.  Definitely NOT my best lunch making effort!

But wait, that’s not all…

Confession #2

Just about once every month I treat myself to a meal that I can in NO way, shape, or form endorse as healthy.

BUT, it sure tastes good…

What is it, you are wondering???

Carne Asada Fries from Robertos.

If you’re not familiar with carne asada fries, here’s what’s in them…

French fries, topped with carne asada, cheese, sour cream, and {the only 2 truly virteous ingredients} guacamole and salsa fresca.

Yes, you read that correctly.

French fries, topped with carne asada, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa fresca.

The thing is, I enjoy these guilt free, but ONLY because I indulge in them once every month or so.

AND, finally, if that confession is not enough to drive you away, here’s my last confession…

Confession #3

Have you been admiring all those colorful candy pictures I’ve interspersed throughout this post?


That’s what my kids have been snacking on this past week…

Fun Dip, Pop Rocks,  Air Heads, Gummy Bears, and Pops!

All loaded with sugar and artificial dyes.

Things I usually avoid giving my kids. {Well, they do get sugar in desserts and treats, but I really do try and avoid buying anything with artificial dyes.}

Here’s the thing though.  When we were at Party City last week, shopping for Big Tex’s birthday stuff, he spied the candy {and some Star Wars cups too} and asked if we could give them out as party favors.  Now, normally I would have said “no”, but I thought about what a good eater Big Tex normally is {eats some veggies, LOTS of fruit, beans, nuts…you get the picture…} and decided that it would be “ok”.   BUT, in my bleary eyed, post-slumber party haste of getting all the party guests out the door, Big Tex and I forgot to hand out the favors.  And, all good intentions aside, we still haven’t gotten them to our guests.


Sisi and Big Tex have been enjoying these candies all this week. BUT

They are allowed to pick one per day and then, be done with it.

Having, thus far, raised pretty healthy eaters, I feel fairly confident that my children understand that the candy is a special treat, and not something mom’s going to serve every day.

And they know Mom’s rule:  “If you eat some “less” healthy, follow it up with something “more” healthy.”

And, ultimately, for me,  the bottom line is this…

I see healthy eating as the BIG picture.  It’s not about perfection, but rather about making {and enjoying!} healthy choices MOST of the time, while allowing yourself to enjoy your occasional indulgences without any guilt whatsoever!

And, if your a parent, its about providing your kids  healthy foods and being a good role model for healthy eating, while at the same time letting your kids enjoy THEIR favorite indulgences without guilt.


What are your perfectly imperfect confessions???

P.S.  In the spirit of Easter, I bought some jelly beans from Trader Joes the other day for my kids {and a few for myself too!}  You’ll be happy to know that they are colored with fruit and vegetable concentrates {carrot, pumpkin, hibiscus, apple, radish and gardenia}.  While still not the healthiest choice, at least they aren’t colored with artificial dyes 🙂

Happy Easter!

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  1. I’m not a dietician. I make nutrition a priority in my life because … by default, I am an overeater.
    The reason that I eat well and take care of myself is so that I can cheat and have junk food sometimes, guilt free.
    And I feel that by making this HUGE separation between food that is eaten for sustainance verses food that is eaten for pleasure.. I’m setting my kiddo up for a deeper understanding of how food should be viewed :As Fuel for our bodies, despite the overwhleming pressure all around us to both consume and be fit and attractive. Giving our kids the foundation of knowing what their bodies actually need to grow and to build their healthy brains is so important to me.
    But it doesn’t mean that I’m perfect either.

    Great post! I can fully relate.

    • The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Lindsay Dianne! Love your emphasis on eating for health, growth and a healthy brain? Your kiddo is lucky to have a mom like you!

  2. Wow, I could fill this little spot easily with my confession….but let’t just stick with last night. I have been working odd hours for a temp job, and really have not seen my hubby. So when he got home last night at 10:30, we enjoyed one of our guilty pleasures. We ate a horrible snack at a restaurant…a big beautiful, melt in your mouth plate of nachos, YUM! I am so good lately, I was okay with straying from the tracks:-)

    I want to share something fun with you. When I was getting my Nutritional Science degree, an RD who was our teacher shared a great tip. She started off early getting her kids to love salads. And now instead of actual dessert, they actually ask for a bowl of salad, seriously!


    • The Spicy RD says:

      Hi Terra! Oh, yes, a good plate of nachos can be one of life greatest (un-guilty) pleasures. Glad you enjoyed them :-). My kids are good eaters, but my son still doesn’t like salad and my daughter only likes salad topped with feta cheese so I don’t think they are ready to trade dessert in for salad, but kudos to your teacher for getting her kids to love salads!

  3. Sophia Kleiber says:

    I love this post!
    I am a registered dietitian and typically do eat healthfully, but of course allow room for treats. It is always so funny hearing comments about how dietitian eat, especially in lunch rooms at work, suggesting being uncomfortable in eating with the dietitians as they eat a healthy meal. I am an eater though so I work out and live healthfully to balance out my intake. I never wanted to “diet” especially when learning about all the therapeutic diets while in school, so it was ironic when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, that it’s treated solely by diet and of course I’ve adjusted. Last week I attended a dietitians meeting and still got comments when lunch was served, as I could not have the same box lunch as everyone else had. I did try to search out some sweet to indulge in and was disappointed when I couldn’t find one. There are times when I like having a “special” diet because it does put limitations on what I can select to eat and often avoid most of the things I shouldn’t be choosing that frequently. But here is my secrete, I indulge in a individual (pc) of Hagen Daz Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream almost daily and I do love making indulgent GF baked goods.
    Happy Easter to you and your family!

    • EA-The Spicy RD says:

      Great comment Sophia about liking having a special diet because it puts limitations on what you can eat. I feel the same way too. I love bread, but that’s out for me when I go out to dinner. To tell the truth, I don’t even miss it at all anymore. {Although let me know if you have a good recipe for gluten-free sourdough bread…I do miss that!} I too love making GF baked goods. I used to bake a lot as a kid, then got away from it. SInce going gluten-free I’ve been baking and cooking so much more which has been fun for me {and my family too!} Happy Easter to you and your family as well!

  4. First, beautiful candy photos. Second- it’s about balance. We received these caramel macaroons as a gift and thought I’m “not a sweet eater” I really enjoyed way to many of them. For my kids, I provide them with healthy sweets but we know fun dip once or twice will not kill them (it takes 3-4 times for that).

    • Oh, those caramel macaroons sound good! And, you’re right…it’s absolutely about balance. And I think it’s so important we help our kids understand what balanced eating is when they’re young, because, unfortunately, I think they’re are many adults these days who have a hard time finding that healthy balance when it come to food. I think my kids just snuck under the wire on the number of fun dips they consumed last week 🙂

  5. I love this post! I think so often when people find out were RD’s they automatically assume we never eat unhealthy..or like to eat unhealthy. I love junk food but I just moderate it.
    So my confession..ben and jerry’s mix of brownie and cookie my guility pleasure! Yum!

  6. I think many people think healthy eating means something different than what RDs know healthy eating to be. I have had some “health nuts” ask why I would eat certain things. It is hard to get people to see the big picture sometimes. Moderation and variety are key, and there is no need to sacrifice when all things can fit in a balance diet. My confession, and I don’t think it is a secret, is that I enjoy what the island has to offer, meaning if we go out to eat, you can bet I am eating the cheese and bread (ok, so I plan so to speak for this, but sometimes it is more than once a week). When the cheese and bread are made local and don’t need to charge more for the organic, grass fed, whatever it might be, you can count me in. That is just how it is on the island, and I am spoiled now. I am sure when we get to Japan I will think of a new excuse for a food to take advantage of, and stuff myself silly on it for 4 years.

    • The Spicy RD says:

      Hi Melinda! You hit the nail on the head with “moderation, variety, and balance”! Fresh bread is one thing I miss when I am travelling, but at least I can still sample the cheese 🙂 I can’t wait to read about your eating adventures in Japan!

  7. OK, confession time? We bake cookies every Sunday.. and I mean EVERY Sunday! I think it is so relaxing, my kids love it, we bring some to neighbors, we share, we enjoy, we EAT! Sometimes they turn out so pretty I wish I could take pictures for my ‘healthy eating’ blog. lol.. And I’m obsessed with cookie blogs like MMMMM.

  8. Where and how can I get these Carne Asada Fries? Cause I’d have them EVERY DAY! 🙂 thanks for being honest! here’s my confession: I like to eat sitr fry rice with potato salad on the side. fave meal ever. yes, double carbs. 😉 your confessions don’t look that bad afterall!

  9. The Spicy RD says:

    Amy-Love the idea of “Cookie Sunday” and I think it’s so cool you share them with your neighbors. We try and bake most of our own sweets (besides the stash of dark chocolate I always keep at the house:-). That way you have to work for your dessert!
    Nelly-If you’re ever visiting San Diego, I’ll take you out for Carne Asada fries :-). I’ve never had stir fried rice with potato salad on the side, but it sounds like it could be pretty tasty!

  10. Love your honesty. I definitely think there’s room in a healthy diet for completely unhealthy foods, as long as they’re in moderation. I’m not a big fan of food coloring either but I think it’s probably fine again in moderation =).

  11. Maybe we should have a badge for the Imperfect Dietitian Moms of the world. I would wear it proudly 😉

  12. I admit my kids have been snacking on fun dip this week too. And I secretly heart those dip sticks!!!

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