Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Menu Explanation

I started to answer this question in the comments, but then thought it was quite long and would make more sense as a post. Here is the question, from Castocreations

So I have a question. Is what you have listed here ALL you eat? Because
honestly it doesn't seem like enough food. I am eating six "meals" a day. They
aren't huge but three meals a day isn't good for your metabolism. So do you
snack in between? I can't imagine having only fruit for breakfast. Or just
cereal. It's important to have a fruit/veggie, protein, and complex carbohydrate
with each meal and snack. I just don't see that with all the meals you list so I
wondered if there were other 'sides' that you don't list.

You're right, this is more like a short hand that I use for reminders. While I'm planning the meals, I write down the main dish to make sure I have the ingredients on hand for that and to remind myself what I should be eating.

The main reason for that is that when I get hungry and my blood sugar drops, I get very irritable and I get upset really easily. If I have a menu plan with preparations made ahead of time, I won't end up at Burger King or eating cookie dough out of the freezer. Believe me, it's happened more times than I can count when hunger has stolen my emotional control!

I do try not to let myself get too hungry, and so I keep snacks on hand, like crudite and fruit and string cheese and granola bars, but I'm afraid that I haven't worked my way up to making eating six times a day a habit. It's usually more like four or five. But that's a lot better than the one or two times a day that I would do naturally.

I'm the first one to admit that I've got terrible nutritional habits, but I've been working on fixing that. Planning out breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day has really really helped me gain back control over the cravings for chips and sweets that I get. That's one of the things that I do that I'd recommend to people, it's very helpful for me, and I know that experts say it's an important part of learning to make good choices. I'd also say that one of the other things I do that's truly healthy is making everything from scratch. To me, that's a sure way to make sure you're not having too much sodium, or sugar, on a daily basis, since those are things that are automatically in prepackaged foods in huge amounts.

Our meals do include veggie/fruit, carb and protein. For example, we usually eat the pancakes spread with natural peanut butter for the protein, and the wraps have shredded cheese in them, and sometimes sliced roasted turkey or tuna salad along with all the veggies. I'll serve a salad with the pasta dishes, and the stir fry, of course, had tons of veggies along with rice and chicken. Cereal might mean Fiber One with a banana, the grilled cheese has crudite on the side, the chili is mostly kidney and black beans, etc.

On Sunday mornings, breakfast is very light, if we eat at all, because we're not supposed to recieve Communion at Mass if we've eaten up to an hour beforehand, so I'll take an apple or something in the car with me and eat it after Mass on the way home or if we run errands. And lunch on a Sunday is usually much earlier, like brunch, since we're usually pretty hungry by the time we get home.

You're definately right in pointing out that my meal plans are not something that should be followed if you're trying to lose weight, or even for general health, but they are a big improvement over how I ate even a year ago. I use them as a reference for myself, and as a tool to help me improve. I'm very glad you've offered feedback, since this helps me realize I've had a blind spot. Maybe next week I will try to plan in at least two healthy snacks to each day as well, since things have gone so well with adding breakfasts and lunches. (We used to plan only dinner, but then I wouldn't eat during the day, and we'd have leftovers spoil. We started planning all three meals about five months ago.)

Does anyone have any simple tips for remembering to eat enough to keep up our metabolism or for planning healthy meals?

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CastoCreations said...

Oh thank you SO much for answering my question!!! :) I really appreciate it (even though my name is casto not castRo *giggle*).

I think planning your meals is an excellent idea. I really need to start doing something like that. I no longer eat frozen lunches so it's been hard to think of what to do for lunch during the work week. I want to avoid going 'out' with coworkers as much as possible. :)

Some of my favorite snacks ...

almonds & raisins (mini box) (I never thought I liked almonds but with raisins they are yummy!)

Vanilla Yogurt - low fat/low sugar with added fresh strawberries and Kashi granola.

Apple & Cheese

Banana & Turkey Jerky (weird I know but I like 'em)

Those are my staple snacks. Easy to take to work and eat at my desk. I'm not as good at eating snacks on the weekend and really need to work harder.

Oh and I love dried pineapple as a "dessert" at night. :)

Bethany said...

Sorry about the name thing, I fixed it. My fingers just type without me sometimes.

I've never really liked raisins, but I like almonds. Maybe I'd find out I like raisins with almonds.

I grew up eating two pretty large meals a day, so it's always been hard for me to learn how a person is supposed to eat. But meal planning has been a good tool for me, since it's easier for me to see at a glance the trends in the meals I plan.

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