Thursday, March 14, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Something I, and probably most people trying to change their eating habits, struggle with is portion control. And in that vein, not eating everything that’s in front of me even once I’m full. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. If you put food in front of me I will eat it. I can remember a time in third grade we were on a school trip and as part of the trip we were supposed to learn about sustainable eating habits and only taking as much as you think you’ll eat. At the end of the meal they’d weigh what we didn’t eat and the table that had the lowest weight won a prize. My table came up with an ingenious way to get around this. Anything they didn’t want to eat after they were full they put on my plate and I ate for them. It didn’t matter that I was full, too. I was effectively a human compost bin for them and I did what they said because it was an opportunity to do something “good” for my peers in hope of being accepted by them.

Fast forward twenty years and it’s still a big struggle for me to stop eating when there’s food in front of me. Call it Starving-Child-in-Africa-Syndrome or Eyes-Are-Too-Big-For-My-Stomach or really anything you’d like, but if I’m full and there’s food left on my plate chances are I’ll still eat it. Today Goober and I had a day off together so we went out for lunch. It was Pi Day, so I wanted to splurge and split a piece of pie for dessert (remember, everything in moderation). When the pie came he was too full to have more than a bite, so I said I’d still have my half and then we could go. I ate my half and then another bite. And another. Soon there was only about a quarter of a slice of pie left and I knew I’d keep eating it if I didn’t do something drastic. So I took Goober’s super messy marinara-sauced napkin and threw it right on top of the pie. Then two more napkins so I couldn’t even see it. It helped a little, but you know, I still wanted the pie. I didn’t dive in and finish it, so it was a small victory, but I don’t think I need to resort to throwing trash on my food so I won’t eat it. So help me out friends, what are your helpful tips for stopping eating?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Special Occasion Eating

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. My work schedule is kind of blowing up for the next few weeks as we enter Spring Break time for the tourists, so my posts might be kind of intermittent for the time being. For now, though, I want to talk a little bit about eating for special occasions.

Last night I had the opportunity to have dinner with my sister who I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. As nervous (and excited) as I was about seeing her, I was also a little concerned about making the right food choices. When you’re out with friends on a normal night you don’t think twice about asking for dressing on the side or skipping the bread. But this was a special occasion, and besides, I didn’t want to look like a weirdo to someone who was basically re-meeting me. So when the bread came, I had a piece. But I didn’t have two (or three, or four). I even put a little bit of butter on it. I skipped the cocktail menu and stuck with water – I gave up soda at the beginning of the year (more on that later). When it came time to order, I bypassed the steaks with cheesy potatoes and chose ahi tuna with garden vegetables; leaner protein with skinnier sides. Everyone else ordered appetizers, so I did too, but instead of a creamy pasta dish or a salad oozing dressing, I picked seared scallops.

The choices worked out well for me; this morning when I stepped on the scale I’d lost a half a pound, putting me firmly in 20+ territory. While I know I can’t attribute that all to the choices I made at dinner last night, I acknowledge that had I ordered the way I would have two months ago the outcome the next day would’ve likely been different.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fishy Fishy!

Can we talk for a minute about how good fish is? I love it for all of its deliciousness as well as its health benefits. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are chock-full of Omega 3s as well as protein. Goober is not the biggest fan of fish of any kind, but he is becoming more willing to try new things. I made him a Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia once, which he liked. For the health benefits, though, I prefer salmon. I haven’t figured out a way to cook it that I can serve it to Goober yet, though so I only have it when we’re out. Tonight I had a nice piece of plain grilled salmon with a small baked potato and broccoli. My salmon was a little bit bland; I would’ve preferred a ginger glaze or something else to spice it up a little. So what I want to know is, what are some of your favorite healthy fish recipes than can be easily adapted for non-fish-eaters like Goober?

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I’ve only really talked about what I eat for dinner so far, but I obviously eat other meals as well. I’ve always been a big fan of breakfast, so pushing to make it the biggest meal of my day hasn’t been too hard for me. I want to eat a big meal in the morning for a few reasons. On the days I work out, I usually go to the gym in the mornings and I want to have something to burn off. If I’m working, I might not be scheduled for a lunch until three o’clock in the afternoon so I need something filling to keep me going until then. I like to keep a lot of variety in all of my meals and I don’t enjoy eating the same thing two days in a row. I have three standard breakfasts that I rotate throughout the week to keep from getting bored, and I’ll occasionally change one thing or another or throw in something new to spice it up.

Scrambled Eggs with stuff: Yep, not super descriptive, I know. The base is pretty much always the same - one organic egg and one little cup of Egg Beaters (I like the good stuff that whole eggs have, but am not a huge fan of the cholesterol, so I make a mix). What I put in it depends on what I have in the fridge and what I’m in the mood for. Yesterday it was Tyson steak strips and mushrooms. The last time I made it I put Jimmy Dean turkey sausage and Sargento shredded cheese in it. Before that it was spinach. If it’s fresh, in the fridge, and goes with eggs, chances are it’ll be going in my not-an-omelet-because-I-don’t-know-how-to-make-one.

Waffles with peanut butter and banana: On the inside I’m still secretly a five-year-old. Who isn’t, really? And who among us doesn’t love a good waffle; toaster or otherwise? Since I have neither waffle iron nor time in the mornings, my waffles are always of the toaster variety and also usually of the Kashi blueberry type. I like them just a little under-done so that they are crispy on one side but soft on the other. I then put peanut butter on each one and top with bananas.

Oatmeal with Greek yogurt: I do love me some oatmeal. Particularly the morning after I overindulge a little bit because I feel like it soaks up all the bad food left in my stomach and carries it away like a little stomach cop car. I make mine with some raisins and cinnamon and then have a Greek yogurt on the side.

When I get bored of my standards I might have a bowl of cereal or make a smoothie, but those three are pretty much in a constant rotation in the kitchen. They’re well rounded and keep me full until whenever lunch might be. So now I want to hear from you; what are your favorite healthy breakfasts?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Restaurant Eating

Goober and I probably go out to eat more often than most people we know. We used to go out without really thinking about it, ordering whatever we wanted and eating out up to five or six times a week. Recently, however, we’ve gotten much smarter about it. We only go out two or three times a week and we always check the restaurant’s menu online ahead of time to plan our meals. This way we can still go to our favorite places and order things that we like as long as we plan ahead. One of our favorite places to go is Qdoba. They have this really neat tool on their website that allows you to plug in each item you order and it calculates all of the pertinent nutritional information for you. They’re much more up-front about it than a lot of other websites that hide the nutritional info or make you hunt for it. You can access all the nutritional information right on the front page, which I love.

When we used to go to Qdoba before I would easily eat upwards of 1,500 calories in one meal. Now, my lightened up version clocks in at a manageable 695. I get a naked (no tortilla) chicken burrito with brown rice, black beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, and guacamole. It’s packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fat from the chicken, beans, and avocado while the tomatoes in the pico de gallo and the corn salsa give me some much-needed veggies. The brown rice is a huge upgrade over the white rice with more fiber and sodium, with fewer calories and less fat. Again, it’s not something I’d eat every day, but as long as I continue to make better choices I know I’ll succeed in my journey.

(My burrito in the front with Goober's tacos in the back. Don't they look so fresh and pretty?)