When Food is More than Food

Red apples being peeled, cored, and sliced

Ever since I was pretty little my family has had a tradition of going apple picking in the late summer. It’s grown up some since I was a kid (we go to a brewery for lunch instead of a fast food place where kids get free ice cream), but the day always ends the same—making from scratch apple pies. 

Now, just because I’m a dietitian don’t think we make a “healthy” or “light” version where we substitute all of the sugar for warm spices or we skip the crust. No no. My mom makes the flakiest, creamiest crust from the Crisco piecrust recipe. A tag team of us kids, who just so happened to be Tony and myself this year, cores and peels the apples, get gone fiber! And my dad mixes the apple slices with sugar and spices and flour. I remember one year we accidentally forgot to put butter between the apple slices and the top layer of the crust and we scrambled to stuff the butter in through the vent holes. We’re serious about apple pie, and I am HERE FOR IT. 

Sometimes food is just food. It’s just energy, nutrition, satiety. But there are also some really special times where food elevates above the calories, macros, and micronutrients it’s made of, when the food is an expression of someone’s love for you. 

Hands putting together lower and upper pie crusts

Please eat your grandma’s buttery, sugary cinnamon rolls that she made because she knew you’d be coming over! I’m not saying you have to eat the entire tray, but think about how sad she’d be if she spent hours on this treat just to hear “oh I can’t eat that, I’m on a diet.” That breaks my heart just thinking about it. And don’t feel guilty or that you need to deprive yourself before or after having something that doesn’t fit perfectly within your meal plan; it’s one snack or meal, it can’t change the progress you’ve made or are working toward—that’s not how weight or metabolism work. 

Fresh baked apple pie next to a stack of green apples

Food is emotional and that’s okay, it’s supposed to be. If you have a hard time with your own emotions and food, let’s talk. For now, feel the love I’m sending to you through the universe and give yourself some of it today, whether that looks like going on a walk, making a balanced meal, having a little treat, or simply resting. 

-Jen Lyman, RDN, LD, CLT

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