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Little Miss Health Nag

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Guess who let me make him dinner again:


On the menu:

A mixed-green salad, a vegan burger (on a whole-wheat bun, with ketchup, relish, and fat-free Nayo), a V8, and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries.



Clean Plate Club!

When I first became a vegetarian, my mom made me extensively research nutrition to ensure I’d be a healthy vegetarian (i.e. not a “junk food” vegetarian). Maybe she regrets making me do that, as you can’t get me to stop nagging about nutrition! I try to keep quiet; nobody likes a nag. But sometimes…

  • “If you put tomato on your sandwich, you can get in some Vitamin C.”
  • “Buy the whole-wheat bread; it has more fiber.”
  • “Have you had any servings of leafy greens today?”
  • “I don’t see any veggies on your plate.”

Question of the Day:

Do you offer nutrition advice to others? I try to keep quiet most of the time (especially with my friends). And sometimes the parents surprise me: For example, Dad asked for the V8 all on his own. Ah, I’m so proud!

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Allison says:

    Holy Cow! I have never seen a post by you without a ton of comments let alone none! Good timing. When I first gave up fast food about 3 years ago and it sent me onto the path to veganism I learned so much about nutrition and where food comes from. I wanted to share that knowledge with my family. They soon made it clear that they understood most of what I was saying and that they just didn’t care. I have been called preachy for trying to help my family live a more healthy life so I have mostly given up trying. I do not live with my family and they eat fast food maybe 50% or more of their meals. The rest consist of a whole lot of quick and easy boxed foods with very few vegetables and very high on the meat. It is so hard to see them eat and live like that.

    On the other hand, my boyfriend that I live with does not like very many vegetables so it is a struggle for me to make healthy food for him when he doesn’t get enough variety. But at least he doesn’t mind my nagging too much.

    Thanks for sharing and letting me share.

  2. I occasionally nag my boyfriend about eating his greens. I consider it an investment in his health, not nagging. 😉

  3. Hey Katie.. I love cooking for my fam too (not vegan in any way shape or form). They get an idea of just how tasty some creations can be!!

    As for your question, I do not like to offer nutrional advice to people. I WOULD LOVE LOVE LOVE TO because I truly feel I have an idea of what our body needs to be strong and healthy. BUT, I never do! I am quite thin myself and I always think people will feel I am imposing and trying to get them to lose weight and whatnot. Some people from my work are in a “weight loss challenge” program and are pretty much eating lettuce and celery all day long. I would lOVE to get them some pointers on what healthy fats/carbs they should consume AND tell them they need to eat way more often than they actually are, but I feel super awkward about it. Honestly, if someone approached me and asked for some ideas I would certainly extend the helping hand, but I’m not going to jump in and act like a “know it all”.

    Have a great Monday!!! :)

  4. Jenny says:

    I try to be nag-free for the most part but I can not lie, I find myself telling Ginge “oh that has lots of sugar” or “brother, you should have whole wheat bread instead of white” but I’m learning to keep my mouf shutski. Happy monday katie-bear! xo

  5. *Andrea* says:

    i have to catch myself from nagging sometimes too. like when my mom buys my sister white bread or frozen chemically ravioli and corndogs, ick! anyways, no one likes a nag i agree but it’s outta love 😉 you look so much like your (handsome) dad, by the way!

  6. Jessica says:

    I offer advice when I think it is common-sense and beneficial to someones well-being, but try not to be pushy. :)

  7. I am the exact same way with my family! The last time I was at their house, I took away my Dad’s Splenda and bought him NuNaturals Stevia. I make sure they buy better breads and always stock their house with veggies. My parents are pretty healthy (thanks to my great mom!) but I try to make sure they are extra healthy. I don’t really nag; I just replace what they have with the healthy stuff without asking permission(hehe). They notice, of course, but don’t really mind. It is all out of love.

  8. Those butternut fries look so good! Good for dad for cleaning his plate!!! I nag people too. It’s what I do best. :-)

  9. That is one lucky (and handsome) dinner date!

    Oddly enough, considering what I do online, I never offer up nutrition comments or advice unless specifically asked. Even with my husband, I let him dictate what he wants and I just support and help. Eventually peopl find their own way :)

  10. Ooohh the fries..girl, I’m not as big on savory and/or starchy veggies, you know I much prefer my vegan chocolate cookies and choco creations :) but those look great!!!! Thanks for your shout out today, muah!! And I think I told you this before, but I make (and blogged about it 2 weeks ago) a countertop coconut milk kefir that is so simple stupid it’s not even funny. 3 ingredients on your countertop for 24 hrs in a bowl. So easy and cheaper than storebought coconut milk kefir. And your kind comment about the Awards is gonna get me thru 5 miles that I’m about to go do….

    xoxox you are the best!!!!!

  11. i can’t help but nag my parents too. i find it so funny that growing up, they would practically force vegetables down my throat, always telling me to just “eat it, it’s good for you!” and now i’m the one who has to nag them about eating their veggies!

  12. Jessica says:

    I *might* nag my husband about food/nutrition just a little, but it’s for his own good! Wow, I totally sound like my mom, lol…

    I <3 butternut!! I've been eating every kind of squash that I can get my hands on. Have you ever tried sweet dumpling squash? My new fav!!

  13. rhodeygirltests says:

    I actually never have had to nag my family on anything food related!!! A brunch at my family’s house will find a plethora of veggie trays (romaine lettuce, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, radishes etc) and big bowls of fruit (grapes, strawberries, pineapple, mango, etc) no matter what the menu is!

    I have, however, tried to get my husband to eat whole grain products. He loves brown rice, but as far as pita and other breads he really prefers white. I say in time he will change!

  14. rhodeygirltests says:

    p.s. why is the post link “beware the mutant chicken ducks” ???

  15. Mihl says:

    Can I borrow you dad? :)

  16. I don’t think I nag so much as merely take note (out loud) of the nutritional value of, say, a new product I just found. Check this out, not only does it have 100% vitamin C, it also has iron and vitamin A… or guess what, I didn’t use any oil to make that cake, I guess that makes it fat-free and I used whole wheat pastry flour so it’s better for us… It’s just me and the ‘taste-tester’ and he’s a vegan too, so I don’t have to nag… I’m simply giving him some information he might not have known. :)

    As for our parental units and siblings… they live in other states, so when they come to visit, I just cook like I normally would and don’t mention anything unless they ask, or we go out to eat, we order our thing, they order theirs… we don’t say anything unless asked… They have finally gotten to the point where we don’t have to defend our choices as much.

    Isn’t it funny, now that you know what you know about vegetarian/vegan life, that *we* have to defend our choices when the majority of the time we are actually eating far more nutritious than they are?

    Hey, I just bought a butternut squash, I think I’ll try those fries! 😉

    Have a great day!

  17. Maria says:

    Oooh kefir + chocolate powder is an awesome idea! Must try soon 😀

    I am a health nagger too, I must admit. But, only to my family–I usually don’t nag my friends! I try to get them to eat whole grains, healthy fats, veggies, etc.

    Awww, your dad is so adorable! Looks very happy indeed!

  18. Jessica says:

    does the kefir taste grassy with the AG addition??

  19. Haha I feel ya girl.. I try not to give nutrition advice unless it’s solicited… or directed at mi padre :) haha that’s always allowed. your daddy dinnah date is presh!


  20. Kiersten says:

    Yeah, I totally nag my family and boyfriend about nutrition. I only do it because I love them though and want them to be healthy!

  21. Kathleen says:

    When I lived at home I was constantly offering nutritional advice to my parents. While I meant it in a helpful way, I think it was probably not a good thing. My brother would get very defensive and annoyed because he viewed it as a personal attack. I don’t know what my sister thought because she kept quiet, but she has since taken an interest in nutrition and lost a bit of weight though she didn’t really need to. And my mother, ever on her own quest for health, would say that it was not helpful because she knew what she needed to do to be healthy. My dad was kinder about accepting my advice, but would be the least likely to follow it.

    I never really though about it before, but now the whole thing seems kind of depressing… So now I keep my nutrition knowledge private unless someone explicitly asks me a question.

  22. hmm I try not to offer advice unless asked…except to hubby I’m always telling him to eat fruits and veggies!

  23. I am PASSIONATE about nutrition! I always give tips, but I try to do it in moderation. I became vegan solely because of my love of animals, but after becoming vegan I also became enthralled with learning about the amazing health benefits. Looks like you made your dad a delicious and healthy dinner.

  24. Tyler says:

    i keep my nutrition thoughts to myself until somebody asks (which tends to happen when we are eating out and someone finds out i was a dietetics major), and then they can’t shut me up 😉

  25. Andrea says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone has their own idea what good nutrition is, and many of them are as adamant and fanatic about their idea as I am about mine. Even when I truly believe someone’s idea of “good nutrition” is silly, I don’t say anything unless I’m asked, and then proceed with great caution. There is research (some better than others) to back just about every claim. I know someone who brags about eating broiled organic free-range chicken, and having gone head-to-head with her in the past, don’t want to go there again. She thinks vegans are unhealthy and ridiculous – and this is a woman who is really into nutrition and health. She drives 50 miles to a holistic dentist.

    So, I agree with you Katie, and try not to nag people about what they eat. It’s hardest with those you love, but I find that as I quietly follow my diet, others ask for information, and make small but significant changes in their food choices.

  26. Jenny R. says:

    aw your dad looks soooo happy. I’m such a nagger…I guess b/c I’m like *almost* (eee crossing fingers) done nutrition school. You’re not even bad compared to me. I go like 5 steps beyond all that. But I’ve cut down now…after learning about nutrition all day, it’s often the LAST thing I want to talk about to people. Except when it comes to yummy recipes of course :)

  27. Jules says:

    Haha, I am SUCH a nag. Well, usually my parents bring up how much a pain my veganism is, and then I nag them about how unhealthy what they’re eating is as payback. Great family relationships, right? LOL.

  28. Me…give out nutrition advice? Never. :)

    I’ve learned that people are very protective of the way they eat – lots of emotional attachment there. Keeping my mouth shut for a while.

    Love your morning bowl of chocolate soup. I want to slurp it right up!

  29. Kristie says:

    I do it to my fam once in a while but I’m not toooo naggy. My mom listens to some of what I say and is sometimes interested in trying to get in more of those essential nutrients (depending on the day…) but the rest are pretty much a lost cause. Someday maybe I’ll get them to eat more of their veggies though :)

  30. I try to keep myself to myself on this subject, however if I’m with someone and they start speaking of how they want to eat more healthy, or lose weight, I just have to stick my oar in!

  31. jcd says:

    I try really hard not to nag people about their eating habits and nutrition. Sure, I’ll throw in a hidden message here or there but that’s about it. Most people I know throw my ideas out the window anyway and question everything I do, not just my choices/opinions on food or nutrition. I’ve learnt to keep my mouth shut most of the time.

    However, if someone comes to me with a question about veganism, environmentalism, nutrition, or wants a recipe for something I go all out and tell them everything they need to know – probably too much all at once. But it’s helping. Those few people keep coming back to me for more recipes and nutrition information. Yay.

  32. Melinda says:

    Since I am a dietitian I do give nutrition advice, whether it is asked for (patients/clients) or not (someone in the grocery store). Unfortunately it just spews out of my mouth since I have so much info crammed into my head. As I have gotten older I have realized and learned not to overstep my bounds, but it is hard since sometimes I see things that people really do not realize are not good (for example giving an infant a bottle of water in between meals). You need to learn to balance it or people will want to rebel against you.

    When I went vegetarian and entered high school my mom made me not only research it, but have a sleep over and cook a (I think 5 courses) meal for my best friends. Complete with store bought tofu ice cream, which back in the day was pretty impressive that this was available. My friends still tease me about the one time I made them eat sundried tomatoes or so many beans, when the typical 9th grader was ordering Papa John’s for a weekend dinner.

  33. I just bought my first bottle of Coconut milk kefir while I was out of town last week. I LOVE it! I’ll have to try the chocolate kefir.

    I try to tell my hubby ways he could be healthier, but it just goes in one ear and out the other:)

  34. Shelby says:

    I hate nagging, but if they ask me I will def. lend my advice!

  35. I love that you make dinner for your dad. My parents live out of state so I only get to see them a few times a year :-( I do offer tons of nutrition advice – probably unsolicited too. I try to give my parents nutrition advice over the phone, but you know how that goes….

  36. Jess says:

    That’s my kind of menu 😀

    To answer your question, I’m like you. I typically keep my mouth shut unless someone opens up a nutrition discussion or specifically asks a question. I would hate to be the person who’s always talking about food while trying to carry out a conversation at a restaurant! Rude!
    <3 jess

  37. glidingcalm says:

    haha i nag my dad about eating his veggies too!

  38. randomlymikey says:

    awww…how sweet! i do offer nutrition advice to friends/family. but when they start to get that ‘look’ i usually back off. lol

  39. broccolihut says:

    Yep, I am a bit of a nutrition Nazi at my house. I do it discreetly though…I’ll switch out the salad dressings on the table from ranch to Annie’s, and I’ll make sure that the snacks in the house are free of freaky chemicals. I try not to nag, but I do my fair share with my dad regarding sodium–there’s a reason he has high BP! Anyway, I also keep quiet with my friends, unless they ask.

  40. Awww, Chocolate Covered Dad! How sweet!

    That Kefir looks! When I run out of the regular stuff I’ve got I will run, not walk and get some of the coconut stuff! Thanks for the heads up!

  41. PS. I try NOT to nag as I know how annoying it was for me when I was not into healthy eating and people nagged me. But sometimes my enthusiasm does get the better of me and I can’t help but rave about some great food or product. :0)

  42. WholeBodyLove says:

    I try to keep my comments and suggestion to myself unless someone asks for my 2 cents. It is hard when you have nutritional advice that could help loved ones live longer and healthier lives. I have to remind myself that if they aren’t ready to hear it, the advice or suggestions will bring no change 😉

  43. Katharina says:

    I usually don’t say anything about that stuff unless I’m talking about it with my parents. They’re well-informed about this stuff, so it’s actually a discussion lol. But for the most part, I just live by example. For example, if people comment on my hair and ask me about it, I’ll tell them that for the most part it’s because of the avocado, coconut oil, and nuts (in nut butter form as well)! I think people are naturally curious, so I don’t really feel the need to give advice 😀

  44. MauraLynn says:

    Oh my goodness, I nag just as much as you, probably even more 😀

    My mother usually gets to be the victim, because I always want to go to the supermarket with her just to ensure she gets the most nutritious food there. It used to be her nagging at me 3 years back to eat less sugar and desserts, but the whole situation reversed 180 degrees last year after I became a vegetarian. I love my new diet! And I agree with you that sugar does drain my energy.

    Nowadays I always have the itch to tell people about nutritional facts (and fictions) everytime the topic comes up. People who know me are probably sick of my impromptu speeches by now. But what can I say? I just can’t seem to resist 😀

  45. katie this blog is SO cute : ) I love it.

    I think its great that your dad would even eat a veggie burger. Mine just chuckles at me. Oh well.

    I never say anything around my friends because its not my place. with my family I do mention that a few greens wouldn’t kill them.

  46. Naomi says:

    yes i would have to say ima nagger! haha….I give advice when people ask me, most of the time they are my friends and it is a pretty simple “this is better than that” awesner, but when clients ask for advice then it gets a bit trickier….i do say what works for ME and what i would choose, but sometimes this is not the same for everyone

    love the pic of your handsome dinner date :)

  47. Sweetie Pie says:

    Your dad is adorable!

    I try not to nag too much, but it happens from time to time. What can I say. I know how great veggies make me feel, and I just want to share the love!

  48. Gloria says:

    I never often them advice unless they ask me.
    Since most people around me view veganism as weird and unhealthy, so usually no one asks

  49. CaSaundra says:

    I think my fam pretty much knows if they’re eating with me, there’s gonna be greens and veggies involved whether they like it or not! :-)

  50. Marianne says:

    I think it’s really easy to not realize that you are being a nag if you are offering nutrition advice. I try not to offer advice unless it’s solicited – one, because I have no formal credentials, and two, because I don’t want to come off as holier than thou. Sometimes with my family, I’ll make something, and say “just eat it and shut up”, but it’s jokingly. As much as one might want to spread the word on health, you have to find the right way to do it.

  51. Emily says:

    I get asked nutrition questions all the time. As soon as people find out what I’m studying, they think of something to ask. :-) My family eats pretty healthfully because of my dad’s health condition, so I don’t usually have to nag them. Looks like you made a delish meal for your dinner date, though!

  52. Ricki says:

    Yay for handsome dinner dates–who actually like their veggies! (And I do try not to nag. . .) :)

  53. trajayjay says:

    I would love to lecture my family on how much sodium we consume. Seriously we have processed meats about twice a week and sugary, salty sauces another two times. It irritates me, but I feel like if I say something, they’ll call me orthorexic, or ridiculous. I only have two more years before I turn 18 and get to move out and eat some unprocessed foods.