Skinny Daily Post


That was the sign on the large boxes of cookies in the grocery store. A great sale. And I stopped myself as I reached for some. What was going on here? All I wanted was a box of cookies for AM. She likes them. But then I read the fine print: “Must buy three to qualify for the discount. Lesser quantities will be charged at $2.49.”

So, here was the choice: way too many cookies for a good discount, or a reasonable number for a bit more [but still less than buying the three boxes!]. And why am I writing about this?

Here’s the deal. We hear so much about personal responsibility in controlling what we eat and how we exercise. The new food guidelines are out, and state that we should limit our intake of trans-fats, which are found in many processed foods. The response from the professional community has been mixed, with some critics (like Margo Wooten of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition) protesting that the onus is solely on the consumer, with no focus on changing the environment in which we make our choices.

It’s entirely possible to dismiss such criticism. After all, we DO choose what we put in our mouths. It IS our responsibility to make reasonable choices. However, when I’m faced with the choice of saving money and buying too many cookies, that’s in part an issue of environment, of corporate responsibility. And let’s not forget marketing!

Why not ONE box of cookies at the sale price? Why force a choice between a good discount and a reasonable number of cookies? The answer, of course, is that it makes the cookie manufacturer’s sales numbers look good. Selling more boxes in January, when most people’s diet resolutions are relatively strong, is a good thing for their bottom line.

Food choices are influenced daily by such things, and marketing plays to our emotions, our time [or lack of it], our wallets. What would a person who’s trying to feed a family an essentially wholesome diet with occasional treats do in a situation like this? And why should they have to choose?

And by the way. The Guidelines state –look for foods low in saturated fats, trans-fats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high–). (This is taken from the Consumer’s Guide to the new guidelines. The quote is on page 8.)

The Guidelines do NOT state that trans-fats are common in processed foods, and it refers the consumer to the nutrition labels on “packaged foods.” The message is to accept that trans fats are here to stay, and our only choice — as consumers — is to limit our intake. Perhaps another response would be to avoid buying food with a nutrition label! After all, when was the last time you saw one on a head of lettuce or a red pepper?

We can succeed in spite of this, but why does it have to be so hard?

I ended up buying AM a small box of much more expensive cookies that she’ll enjoy far more. It still cost less than $5.00!

12 thoughts on “Three for $5.00

  1. Annie says:

    I was browsing the web and came across your site. I found it absolutely delightful. In 2001 I embarked on a journey of a lifetime to take off 125 pounds. I reached that goal in 2002 and have been struggling with maintenance since. I was looking for inspiration and fellow maintainers. I loved your cookie story and could relate 100 percent. Rest assured this page is going to get bookmarked.
    My webpage is
    feel free to browse around.

  2. Quinn says:

    The cookies I make at home contain no transfats (partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil of one kind or another). I make them out of REAL butter and REAL eggs and REAL vanilla and REAL cane sugar and real whatever else the recipe calls for.

    Needless to say, I rarely make cookies! 😀

    But buying the packaged ones are simply not an option. Nor is buying the box-mix cakes or frozen desserts or a whole bunch of other things.

    Trans-fats kill you. They clog up your arteries the same way butter and other animal fats do. Unlike butter and the other animal fats, they contain no nutritional value at all. There is some question as to whether the standard cholesterol-lowering drugs also work on them. (I should think not, as they are chemically two very different beasts.) Tests designed to alert people to possible heart disease and are designed to pick up on levels of trans-fats in the blood stream.

    Several years ago, my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. A “small” heart attack put him in the hospital. The next day they ran all the usual tests on him, lipids, stress, etc. His combined cholesterol was 142, heavy on the HDL. He did not do well on the stess test at all. The angioplasty performed the day after that was not very successful, as one vein was so thoroughly block that they couldn’t push through it. He died a few days later.

    Mom had been aware of the connection between a high fat diet and heart disease since before she married Dad (in the early fifties) and so kept the fat levels of our meals way down. Unfortunately that meant substituting butter with margerine, etc. Margerine is almost entirely trans-fat. And trans-fats became more popular with both food producers (as a preservative) and food consumers (as a substitute for saturated fats).

    We’ve done this to ourselves. Now we have to do damage control.


  3. Quinn says:


    “Tests designed to alert people to possible heart disease and are designed to pick up on levels of trans-fats in the blood stream.”

    Should read: “Tests designed to alert people to possible heart disease and cholesterol levels are not designed to pick up on levels of trans-fats in the blood stream.”

    thank you.

  4. bonnie says:

    January is inventory time in grocery stores, so they sell off as much of the stock as possible. This is why in January there’s all sorts of big sales on bulk goods. Cookies, soup, frozen dinners, anything that’s prepackaged and taking up space in the storeroom.

  5. JuJu says:

    This is just me appreciating Quinn for all she gives us here. Here, here, Quinn. Thanks so much.

  6. ellie says:

    hmmmmm . . . I don’t think we can count on marketers to make eating right or eating the right amount easy. They will always do what they have incentive to do, which is make money. What does happen, though, is that when public perceptions change, they offer better alternatives. I mean, you can buy trans-fat free FRITOS now, for goodness sake. And organic foods are becoming more mainstream every day. Personal responsibility is HARD, doggonit, in so many ways. But it’s so rewarding to look the devil in the face and say ‘nyaaaaaaaaaa!’ that I say “bring on your three for one baked goods, your trans-fat saturated crackers, your fast food, your huge restaurant portions, your candy bars, your simple carbs and, when I choose to eat fruit, nuts, and healthy home cooked foods, to go to the gym daily, to walk up the stairs, and to care for myself in so many ways, I’ll feel that much better, that much more high on life!” And then I’ll buy myself a massage.

  7. Paula says:


    I fully agree on the struggle to feed a family of 4 a wholesome diet with some treats now and then. It’s mainly what we do. It is hard to keep up with labels and pricing. More and more we are eating fresh fruits and veggies and so are the kids… it is great to see them munch right along with us. I also mostly bake our own cookies and baked goods and it is nice to know what is in them. Anyway, it may take a bit longer in the grocery store to read the labels but I think our hearts will thank us for it later… Thank you for all the wisdom today.

  8. Raina says:

    I have been reading your site for a while, but haven’t posted a comment before. I can relate totally to what you are saying and it was one of the many small mindset changes I’ve had to make in my life to be successful at weight loss over the last year – bargains are not bargains if they’re setting me up to be sabotaged!
    I remember vividly when this kicked in for me. I had a huge craving for Pringles … yes I know, not good – but I was training myself to have a very small amount of something when I was craving it and be satisfied with that.
    So I went into a store planning on buying one of the mini cans (I am in Australia so there may be some differences in products). I was just about to put the mini can in my basket, and then I noticed the large ones were ‘on special’. Immediately the bargain shopper single-mum-of-4 in me kicks in and I think “hmmm – only 20c more and there’s twice as much! Much better value.” Then the twin pack of larger cans (packed together with plastic wrap) caught my eye – also on special – at about 10c more than the large pack. “Oh bonus!” I think as I scoop it into my basket. I got half way to the checkout before I realised. Now, nearly a year later, its mostly second-nature to me to recognise that more for less is not actually better in a lot of cases. Especially with the predominance of “all you can eat” restaurants, huge serving sizes, and economy sizes in almost everything, its easy to get into the ‘bargain eater’ mindset.

  9. Quinn says:


  10. Tricia says:

    I subscribe to Prevention Magazine. In a recent issue, there was commentary about a study of trans fat vs. vegetable oil fat on the BRAIN. They used rats. Rats on trans fats could not remember from one day to the next how to negotiate a maze. They were dazed and confused. They were slow learners. Vegetable oil rats memorized the maze and sailed through each day. The scientist who facilitated the experiement was so alarmed he went through his pantry and eliminated all trans fats.
    I have noticed many snack food have been re-formulated and the recipe no longer includes trans fat. Thank God, because I love to eat me some Triscuits!
    Blessings EveryDay,

  11. Quinn says:

    Got to buy myself a subscription to Prevention magazine.

    Could the rise in reports of kids with learning disabilities be at all connected with the rise in the use of trans fats in prepared foods? Has anyone looked into this?

    Just a thought.

  12. Diane says:

    I can relate to the bargain eater mindset too. I had a lightbulb moment a couple years ago when I was about to binge on ice cream. I was trying to fight the urge and thought about throwing it away. But then I thought what a waste that would be. The next thought was my lightbulb moment. Tomorrow, after you have eaten all this and feel like s**t, would you pay $5 to undo what you did tonight? My answer was yes, and I melted the ice cream right down the sink! No guilt. I was proud of myself, and I’ve done that several times since to save myself from a binge.

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