Monday, April 28, 2014

I Have to Cook and Eat, Too?!

Proof I leave myself cute little reminders!
In the grand scheme of things, when I get busy, cooking and eating seem to take a backseat to life.  I skip lunch sometimes when I am busy at work, OR I will eat snack foods for dinner when J is out of town.  I tease him that he needs to leave food in the freezer (or fridge) "for the dog" (aka me) when he is getting ready to head out of town.  Otherwise, I won't eat! I simply run out of time to cook or even THINK about cooking if left to my own devices.  BUT while sweet J cooks for us, I plan the meals.  I plan on a weekly basis, and I even leave myself reminders in my planner each weekend.  I go on a weekly basis because I have to make weekly trips to the grocery store to sustain our supply of fresh fruits and veggies (we go through
them by the pound-full! I recommend a warehouse store like Costco or Sam's if your family is like this, too!). I try to plan meals by using the following guidelines.

1. 3-5 servings of fruits or veggies DAILY. Snacks DO count, but I try to get at least one serving of each at dinner.  Having trouble with the veggies part? Salads count!  Try veggie sticks with ranch dressing, or a healthier option such as hummus. For work, try some portable options: clementines, bananas, apples, carrot sticks or baby carrots, cucumber slices.  The possibilities are endless!

2.  For protein sources, I try to follow this pattern:  2-3 days of white meats, 2-3 days of red, 2-3 days of left overs (possibly), 1 meal with another source of protein (i.e., eggs, chickpeas).

NOW - the tricky part is, meshing all of these into a perfect harmony of meals that are going to make you AND your family happy! I am gluten intolerant, so certain meals are more difficult to create or eat since I can't eat them. My stepson is SUPER picky, so we have to work within what we know he will eat and still try to get him a balanced diet.  There are some GREAT books out there to help you with this step if your child is super picky.  Anything green that touches his plate is promptly put onto his placemat...Have a child like that?  I HIGHLY recommend the book "Deliciously Deceptive."  My mom has a "mashed potatoes (cauliflower)" recipe that I believe she took from there. It's AMAZING.  If it's not in there, google it! With the Paleo diet on the rise, there's plenty of recipes out there!

Like I said earlier, I plan weekly...I plan according to portion sizes.  J is really bad about eating too much (and he'll openly admit it to you, too!), so I try to plan so that the portion sizes have to be smaller to start with.  I use the following diagram from to try and make sure I buy enough to have several portions (more portions equals more left overs!).  (**NOTE: I usually switch the sizes of fruits and grains as the grains I CAN have aren't all that stellar in the taste department.)
That being said, here is a few days' worth of meals/snacks planned out just so you can see how detailed I get (keeps me on track!). I try to drink 8 glasses of water per day (8 oz glasses!), but as you can see, diet coke is my guilty pleasure.  For more meal/snack ideas, visit - it has some great suggestions!

DAY 1:
Breakfast - diet coke, 2 clementines, 1 banana, Kind protein bar
Snack - 1 greek yogurt, water
Lunch - 1 bowl vegetable soup, 1 bowl fruit salad, water
Snack - cheese slices, gluten free crackers
Dinner - honey mustard chicken, rice, salad, mango slices

DAY 2:
Breakfast - cheese grits, 1 egg (scrambled)
Snack - Kind protein bar, 1 clementine
Lunch - baby carrots & hummus, cheese slices, greek yogurt
Snack - 1 clementine
Dinner - smoked turkey sausage curry (with red & yellow peppers, zucchini) on white rice

DAY 3:
Breakfast - Nutella on gluten free bread, diet coke
Snack - 2 clementines
Lunch - Salad with strips of grilled chicken, vinaigrette dressing or honey mustard dressing, fruit
Snack - veggies & hummus
Dinner - shrimp, Italian Sausage & grits (Use marinade recipe to create a roux by adding small amounts of flour [gluten free, of course!]. Then add in cooked sausage and shrimp!), fruit salad

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