So most of the people I talk to say that the biggest issue is knowing what to eat. Reading into that more I see it as an “how to eat” issue. Society forces us into a fast pace. We struggle to s-l-o-w down. I am adding a section to this blog called “Eat It” with my own weekly meal plan for dinners. If you are in need of a time saver (and don’t mind choices being made for you) you can follow along and use the “Recipes” section of the menu bar to create your shopping list.
Nothing is set in stone and most of the time I don’t eat as much as planned for. If you still find yourself hungry consider all raw fruit and veggies (no dips) as a completely free food to gorge on (hint: if you aren’t hungry enough to be eating that than maybe it’s not hunger you are looking to fulfill…)
We as a family try very hard to follow a rule I read about in a book called Body for Life and that is that we can have one free day per week to eat junk or whatever we’ve been craving. This usually extends to our weekend (so of the 7 days in the week we are allowed “bad” foods on weekends.) This rule also applies to alcohol. The only exception to this rule is one piece of dark chocolate after dinner to kill any sweet cravings we may be having – we have also found that an expresso will do the trick nicely. In addition to that, I will use my recipe for **raw chocolate pudding** to kill cravings if I don’t feel enough fat has been in place in my diet that day (or if I have been lacking in omega 3s).
We buy organic when we can, and local as much as possible. (This is especially so after reading **The Omnivores Dilemma**.) Having said that I don’t dwell on it. I make a shopping list for the week based on my meal planning and I stick to it. I try to make use of large quantities of food through the week. For example in one week’s meal plan I would have bought a very large bag of baby carrots and a huge container of blueberries, to use in recipes and as snacks through the week. I spend as little time running around and preparing as I can. This is also why dinner one night becomes lunch the next. I consistently try to always make extra to use the next day, or to freeze.
Time savers: when making meals double the recipe and freeze if you are able. That way nights when you are tired or busy dinner just needs to be reheated. When doing meal prep I try to always to extra. i.e. Cutting up an onion – do two and bag one for tomorrow’s meal. Washing lettuce? Why not wash the whole bag, pat dry and put in a bag for the rest of the week. If you know you will be tired this week or short on time buy the pre-washed lettuce. Baby carrots are a lifesaver. You might save money by doing things yourself but ask yourself if it’s worth your time. There have been nights I would love to have a salad but have been too tired and don’t make the effort, which leads to junk eating later. Prep work is key. I will even do some in the morning if I have a minute to make dinner go little faster. Time savers like apple corers and eggs slicers are great, as long as the time saved isn’t spent on clean up afterwards.
Sit down for every meal or snack. Period. Pay attention to your food, the way it tastes and the way it makes you feel. I am always grateful for the ability to prepare, enjoy and be able to obtain nurishment. Even if you are running late and have grabbed a sandwich while you are out. Find a bench, park your butt and pay attention to your fuel. I honestly think intention and awareness to what we are eating helps us become more connected to how we feel.
Water, water, water. If you are still hungry after what you feel is an appropriate amount for dinner, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. If still hungry grab seconds of dinner (not something else.) Drink at least one glass of water with every meal. 8 glasses a day should be minimum. It helps to control hunger and flush out the body.
Cravings. ugh. This one isn’t easy as I don’t believe in depravation. Most of the time the “Body for Life” rule is enough to make me feel like I’m not depriving myself (Chips is my big one and if I can just wait till Saturday I can eat a whole bag to myself if I want…just knowing that gets me through to Saturday and usually by then I don’t need the whole bag, or any at all sometimes.) For sweet cravings the dark chocolate helps, albeit ONE piece. My new favorite is Theo chocolate (especially the coconut or chili flavour) I find that sometimes I can find alternate foods that will help. I replace club soda with a wedge of lime for pop cravings, and will do a small bowl of plain yogurt with frozen raspberries and a little bit of cocoa to kill really bad dessert cravings (or the raw chocolate pudding.) For my salty cravings I usually find pickles, olives or rice crackers and humous help. I limit the amount I eat though as the salt will tax your system (i.e. 2 pickles, or 5 olives). And pay attention to my body…am I eating because I’m hungry, or bored? Is it just salt I am craving or fat as well? What should I change in the next meal to try and restore balance?