Pete Davison: Five a Day

Posted on September 19, 2011 by


“Healthy eating” is often misinterpreted by many (including myself) to mean “eating things that taste like pieces of wood that you found on the forest floor”. And yet it doesn’t have to be that way, it seems. Sweet treats are all very well and good, but firstly, they get pretty dull after a while (once you’ve had one chocolate bar, there are very few variations on the theme besides what the crunchy bits are made out of/taste of) and secondly, of course, they’ll turn you into the sort of person who requires a crane to get them out of your house.

This is an exaggeration, of course. Unless you eat, like, nothing but chocolate bars all the time, in which case heart disease will probably take you long before any cranes have to be involved.

But anyway. Since starting my EA Sports Active 2 workouts (which I’m still keeping up with, FYI) I’ve been looking a little more carefully at the things I eat each day — largely because of the nagging woman who gently reminds you that you should be eating [x] number of fruit and veg portions per day, and [y] number of glasses of water. As a result of a little investigation and exploration, I’m doing quite well on [x] though [y] often still eludes me, because water is pretty boring.

It seems there’s quite a wide variety of things that actually taste reasonably nice while actually being healthy, too, particularly on the fruity side of things. There’s a snacky thing called “Fruit Flakes”, for example, which is basically a little bag of fruity sweets, only they’re actually made of fruit instead of E-numbers and enough sugar to send a hyperactive five year old to the moon without the aid of a rocket. Today, too, I tried some things called “YoYos” from a company called “Bear” — they’re basically fruit rollups, but all-natural and, bizarrely, made using sweet potato as well as the fruits in question. They don’t look quite as appealing as more sugary variations on the fruit rollup theme — they have the look and texture of fruit jerky — but they taste all right, and apparently each one is one of your Five a Day. I’ve had two today. Check me out.

Crisps are a thing that the reformed glutton often misses, as crisps are tasty. While they’re not quite the same thing, I’ve found Snack-a-Jacks to be a perfectly acceptable substitute. Some people aren’t a fan of rice cakes, believing them to actually be pieces of packing polystyrene rebranded as a lightweight snack, but the addition of a little flavour to the mix with Snack-a-Jacks makes them more than acceptable — and without having to cover them in cheese, jam and any combination thereof, either.

One thing that does irritate me a little about healthy eating, however, is advertising. I’m thinking particularly of the Special K adverts here. Now, as a breakfast cereal, I quite likeSpecial K. It’s moderately tasty, supposedly good for you and doesn’t taste like lumps of chipboard. There’s also about a bajillion different varieties of it nowadays — some with fruit, some with other variations. It should be a cereal for which everyone can find an acceptable variation.

So why, then, is it marketed exclusively towards women? That’s not an exaggeration, either — there hasn’t been a man in a Special K advert for as long as I can remember, and it’s almost constantly marketed as the cereal that will make you look good in a one-piece swimsuit/figure-hugging red dress. I don’t particularly want to wear either of those things, and I have far too much penis to ever be called a woman, but I like Special K. Now, to be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no shame whatsoever in walking into a shop and purchasing a box of Special K, much as I would have absolutely no shame whatsoever in walking into a shop and purchasing sanitary towels for a female friend who needed them. But the fact I even have to make that comparison is at least a little objectionable — is the assumption that men are only interested in eating some sort of protein-packed Meat Flakes for breakfast and sprinkling them with bacon, while the women virtuously crunch on their Special K?

Who knows? Regardless, the main thrust of this self-indulgent ramble is that EA Sports Active 2 has, among other things, succeeded in getting me to be a bit more conscious of what I put in my mouth. This is, I believe, a good thing — and another check mark in favour of a fitness and health programme that I’m having increasing amounts of respect towards. We’ll see how I feel in 9 weeks time when the programme I’m following is supposedly set to finish!

Posted in: Pete Davison