The last time I ate M&M’s, I felt very guilty about it. I considered it a lapse. I had failed. I ate some M&M’s recently, and I have no qualms about it. Let me tell you the story of how they wound up in my cabinet, and how I’m at peace with the decision to eat them.
It all started out on a grocery trip to Wal-Mart. I like to buy most of my groceries at Kroger, but several things are generally cheaper at Wal-Mart including carrots, some dark berries, and a type of sugar-free preserves I enjoy. I got in line behind a family who was purchasing a trampoline and some other things. I put my items on the belt and began puttering on my iPhone until it was my turn.
I overheard the customer say, “I forgot my debit card in the car.” She abandoned her groceries, grabbed her kids, and quickly made her way out of the store. The cashier, embarrassed, apologized for the delay. Not being in a hurry (and feeling like a million bucks after a good workout), I told her it was no problem. Several times during the wait, the clerk apologized. Several times, I reassured her that it really was no problem. I was consumed reading blogs on my iPhone.
When the woman returned, she paid, and then seemed confused. She was missing a pack of M&M’s that her toddler insisted they get. “They were right here,” the cashier said, pointing to the check signing pedestal. “I remember you setting them here. Just go get another pack.”
After the woman paid, handed the candy to the child, and wheeled her trampoline and groceries away, the employee again apologized. I smiled and swiped my debit card as she placed my groceries in the bag. I thought nothing of the scene until I got home and found a bag of M&M’s under my berries.
While trying to do me a favor, the employee had actually, in the words of my dietitian, “unintentionally sabotaged” me. Although I find it a bit less menacing than that, I did find myself in a spot. I had in my possession some empty calories. I reflected on how I had behaved last time when I was exposed to this Kryptonite.
I thought about driving back to the store and surrendering the ill-gotten goods, but I didn’t want to cause the clerk any problems. I considered throwing them in the trash can. What I did was put them up in the cabinet with my baking items. I filed them with my chocolate chips, which I use for making Black Bean Brownies. Funny how a hard candy coating turns innocent chocolate chips into colorful sirens that can call my name behind a closed cabinet door.
The candies were safe for the night, but the next day I included them in my meal plan. Ringing in at 240 calories, I figured I’d skip a couple of carbohydrate servings and a fat serving from my existing plan. While still going over on my calories for the day, it wasn’t by much. The sugars in the candy weren’t as nourishing as the whole grains in my Nutella and toast, but I was at peace with my decision.
In hindsight, I think it’s prudent for me to have a contingency plan in place for future times that I come into possession of trigger foods like M&M’s. That could be, “lock it in the trunk of the car until it can be surrendered to the authorities,” “open the container and dispose of it in a way that makes it inedible,” “Fashion it into a thoughtful gift for someone for whom this is not a trigger food,” or “eat it and then blog about it afterward.”