Those of you who live in the United States might recognize this. Those of you who don't might get a good laugh out of it. My health insurance offers a health rewards program- an incentive to make healthy changes in your life in exchange for
Then, I got to the nutrition section. Here, they ask you to enter your weight, and then tell them whether you would like to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight. They then design an optimal menu for you, which they also promise will be "heart healthy." Well imagine my horror upon being presented with this suggested daily menu: (click on the photos to enlarge)
For breakfast, they want me to consume calcium fortified orange juice, fat-free fruit yogurt (ack! the yuck factor of dairy aside, don't they care about the sugar or chemical sugar substitute in those things?), some lowfat milk (more dairy?!), an egg-white omelette with cheddar cheese and imitation bacon bits (come on, now!) along with an english muffin. (Oh, phew! They recommend a wheat english muffin! no word on if that means whole wheat or not) Knowing what I know about eggs and dairy, not to mention what I know about packaged foods, that breakfast sounds like a nightmare.
But that is nothing compared to dinner! Keep in mind, these suggestions are supposed to be healthy and contribute to weight loss, and this is a health insurance company making the recommendations! You would think they would have a vested interest in me not dropping dead (or worse, developing chronic illnesses necessitating prolonged health care, medicine, hospitalization, etc.). Here we go: they want me to eat frozen boysenberries (unsweetened- woo!) with powdered sugar (d'oh!), some yellow wax beans (a wonderful vegetable, but not a nutritional powerhouse), some more lowfat milk (ew! I mean, seriously?), and some pasta and meatless (phew) tomato sauce with cheesy meatballs. (d'oh, d'oh, d'oh)
As if this meal weren't enough to wear you out, you get a snack! A parfait made from fat-free frozen yogurt, frozen strawberries, peanut M&Ms, and, oh! two tablespoons of Kashi Go Lean cereal. I don't care if you're vegan or not, consuming that much dairy in one day is not good for you. If I ate their suggested menu, I'd be sluggish, over-sugared and under-nourished. And frankly, a little grossed out.
What about my breakfast? How could I enter things like this rice pudding made with organic brown rice, unsweetened hemp milk, cinnamon, cardamom, raisins, walnuts, and a dash of agave nectar?
Or this hearty brunch of marinated grilled tofu, roasted spicy potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes, and rye bread?
It turns out you can customize your menu, but your only options even there are preselected brand-name packaged items. For example, I tried picking "smoothie" but the only smoothies they would recognize were Dannon Light 'n Fit-brand "smoothies." (light on the smoothie, heavy on the sugar and crap). Why, if I were the suspicious type, I would think that my insurance company has product placement agreements with major food brands to pimp their products as healthy...? No...
Well, the promise of being rewarded for health is enticing, but I can't even lie and say I'm eating that stuff! I better re-double my exercise program - and go munch on a carrot stick while I'm at it.