Ask Calorie Ken: The Curse of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

By , Columnist

Dear Calorie Ken,

I am addicted to chocolate chip cookies, and I don't really want to be cured. I'm not exactly fat, just luxuriously upholstered. And I'd like to shape up a bit, but I'm afraid that means resigning myself to a diet of lettuce and sawdust. Can a healthy diet include a few swanky baked goods now and again?

Cookie Monster in Boston

Dear Cookie Monster in Boston,

Cookie Monster from Sesame Street is luxuriously upholstered too.  Perhaps y'all are related. His favorite song is "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me; cookie, cookie, starts with C." Of course, Cookie loves cookies, but he also likes crunchy fruits and veggies, and, while he once told Martha Stewart that "cookies are Novocain," he went through cookie rehab and now knows that "cookies are a sometimes food."

The short answer to your question is, yes, a healthy diet can include a few swanky baked goods now and then. Lettuce is for your pet turtle, and sawdust is for Pinocchio.

The key to the answer, however, is now and then. Calorie Ken believes life is meant to be enjoyed, but some things need to be enjoyed in moderation. Diets fail for many reasons, but one main reason is that we exchange real food for what we think we are supposed to eat instead of developing a healthy overall, ongoing balance that includes the occasional indulgence.  After all, what would life be without an indiscretion now and then?

Calorie Ken loves Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. "Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety." Like cookie, confidence also starts with C, and, reading between the lines, you strike me as someone who has a healthy body image, but maybe a predisposition to hyperbole and a bit of a lazy streak. If I'm wrong, and cookies really are like crack for you, then avoid them at all costs and seek out your local chapter of Overeaters Anonymous.

But, if a chocolate chip cookie is something you love -- comfort food that has wonderful memories attached -- then, just plan to enjoy one. Work the calories into your overall intake. Make a date with it. Let it be the reward that gets you off the couch or away from that computer screen.  Honor it as special, not something mundane.  Reach for it, not without thought, but after a brisk 20-minute walk or 30 minutes of exercise.  Like your significant other, don't take it for granted. Cherish it, but don't worship it. 

When you are ready, combine Cookie Monster's two favorite cookies, the chocolate chip and the oatmeal. Make the new object of your affection the Fiber One oats & chocolate bar. It's a swanky alternative that will help you stay luxuriously upholstered and avoid being overstuffed.


Swanky reader, Calorie Ken wants to hear from you!  Post your comments below, and send your questions to  And, tell others!  Post on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn...everywhere, and share with your e-mail distribution lists. We hope to make Calorie Ken the Dear Abby of good health and nutrition, and we need your help.  Cheers! 

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For two years, Ken Brooks (Calorie Ken) was a volunteer in the Tufts University CALERIE Study. He is now a nutrition evangelist. Send your nutrition, weight management, general health and exercise questions to

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