While I do enjoy sweet foods at times, I have noticed lately that people tend to use food as a way to reward themselves or express caring for others. For example every morning this week there have been free “treats” at the Nucleus Cafe in the Natural Science Center (this picture shows the offerings from yesterday) and every week there is at least one ginormous cake in the nursing faculty staff room fridge (along with cookies, fudge, brownies, and chili chocolate covered pretzels, to name a few others). Not to mention that you can’t go shopping without some holiday or occasion being promoted by chocolate and other candy.
Why do we feel like sweets are a reward or that they show someone we care? If you think about it, candy is more expensive than real food, has no nutrient value other than giving you energy (which will generally be stored as fat), and causes a host of health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. I would argue that you should give candy to people that you don’t like!
Obviously I’m not saying there isn’t room for any candy or chocolate in a healthy diet, however I am sick of this junk food free-for-all in most workplaces and at the coffee shop (and elsewhere I am certain). We would be a lot better off if people gave each other high fives, started a walking club, and invited one another over for a healthy dinner (and some wine) instead. In the spirit of actually caring about people, here are my top 10 ways to show you care that don’t involve clogging their arteries or creating insulin resistance:
- Give them a hug!
- Write them a poem (or draw a picture, etc)
- Tell them!
- Spend time together having a real conversation. No phone. No distractions.
- Go for a walk or a hike in a beautiful place.
- Workout together!
- Copious amounts of high fives (as tolerated)
- Do something for them that they would appreciate (take out the trash, clean the bathroom, make supper, give a massage, etc)
- Enjoy music or culture together
- Write them a note or send them a hand-written letter from the heart.
In my opinion, giving people candy is kind of a cop out. Give them your self instead 🙂