When you are on a diet — or the more PC term, “undergoing a lifestyle change” — there are certain foodstuffs you just have to give up. It’s a cold, hard truth, but some of your favorite delicacies are undoubtedly the worst for you, like a toxic ex-boyfriend or your highest pair of heels. My weakness is macaroni and cheese.
True story: Last night, I ate an Amy’s Organic Mac & Cheese Bowl. It was 10 Weight Watchers Points Plus for what I think was approximately a thimble of cheesy goodness. In the time it took me to inhale it, I had already managed to tweet “I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you every day for a year. It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over” accompanied by a picture of my empty bowl. It was so good that the cheesy mac had become the Noah to my sad-dinner Allie. It was a #dark place, but sometimes, there are no diet replacements for your most cherished yums.
When the food gods try to replicate your non-diet treats in a healthier fashion, it can be wildly successful (See: whole-wheat pasta, frozen coconut fruit bars, and 2% Kraft Singles. Yes, I said Kraft Singles, get off me.) Most of the time, however, it is an epic failure and a travesty on the part of culinary aficionados everywhere. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the 9 biggest diet food fails that I’ve encountered while on the Weight Watchers diet program:
1. Bagel Thins: Bless your soul if you’ve never experienced the blatant indignity of living in New York City, bagel capital of the world, and being forced to consume the ginger step-child of the bagel, the bagel “thin.” They use the word “thin” on purpose to remind you that if you so choose to go to the deli and order a REAL bagel, you’ll inflate to the size of a Macy’s Day Parade balloon. A Bagel Thin is actually just like a NYC bagel, except with the consistency of a manila folder and the size of the acrylic nail on my pinky finger.
2. Low-fat mayonnaise: Real talk, I eat a lot of tuna fish. It’s super good for you, with those Omega 3 fatty acids all up in it*. You know what I simply cannot abide, however? Low-fat mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is simple, really — you have some eggs, some oil, and then boom — a delightful sandwich spread. Low-fat mayonnaise is not so simple. I’ve never actually read the nutritional label on a jar of low-cal Hellman’s, but I assume the ingredients include mucus, human tears, and self-loathing.
3. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: Actually, I can. Butter does not and should not come in “spray” form. A better title for this farce of a condiment would be “This Is Most Definitely Not Butter” or “Are You Actually Kidding With This Shit?”
4. Low-Calorie Peanut Butter: A few weeks ago, I developed an intense pregnant lady-style craving for PB that could not be ignored. Peanut Butter, with its fats and proteins, is very points-heavy on Weight Watchers, but I discovered that my roommate had a jar of low-cal PB in the cabinet and figured I’d give it a shot. “Hmm,” I thought, “This could work.” It did not work. Low-calorie peanut butter tastes like what I assume the spackle I used to cover up the holes in my old apartment walls so I could get my security deposit back tastes like.
5. Lean Cuisines: Eat these if you want to experience what giving up tastes like.
6. Kale: I’m sorry, but I’m calling bullshit on kale. I feel like people who claim to loooove Kale only say they do because they are supposed to, like the food equivalent of Beyoncé. Pro tip: Exit Whole Foods, go outside, pick off a few leaves from the nearest tree and get to chewing. I just saved you $5 on produce.
7. Reduced-fat ice cream: Real ice cream would undoubtedly be a part of my death row meal. I could easily take down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s like a lactose-loving wildebeest if I were so inclined. The problem is, ice cream is pretty much just sweet frozen fat. So, the nice ice cream churners at Friendly’s, and Turkey Hill, and Edy’s, and all the other ice cream gods decided they’d throw us a bone and make alternate versions that weren’t so bad for you. Gee, thanks. What we got was a metallic-tinged, ice-crystallized hot damn astronaut food-textured mess that freezer burns within two days. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
8. “Skinny” Cocktails: “Give me vodka made from potatoes or give me death.”- Patrick Henry, probably.
9. Light dressing: Oh, salads. Salads are great, but the thing is, most of the time you order a salad thinking you’re making the healthy choice, when really you might has well have ordered everything on the Cheesecake Factory menu and injected it right into your veins. Know why? Dressing. It’s delicious. Salad needs dressing like Ashanti needed Ja Rule. They just work so well together. Light dressing is like Ja Rule sans Ashanti. Imagine “Always On Time” without Ashanti. That’s what light dressing tastes like.
*I have no idea what an Omega 3 Fatty Acid is, and also probably don’t eat as much tuna as I do, as I’m fairly certain I am going to get mercury poisoning. YOLO.