For so many of us, it’s the same song, different verse: “I need to get this weight off! I don’t have time to cook! It’s only me or me and my partner/husband! When I get home, I am way too tired to think about cooking! I have no idea what to cook that’s fast, healthy, and tasty!”
Sound familiar? Well of course it does and it happens to ALL of us.
As so many of you know by now, my response to the understandable reasons why so many eat out, don’t eat, have cereal or popcorn for dinner, or just order pizza is simply this–just keep it simple sister or mister!
Here’s how I do it.
1). Have a plan. Without a plan, it’s Russian roulette at meal time–you can’t cook what’s not in your home. If you are going out to dinner, maybe a bread-heavy sandwich at lunch is not a good idea because those carbs are not our friend. I love bread and pasta, but it does me in every time I don’t control my carb intake. If I want to enjoy the bread and olive oil at dinner, I’ll have a salad or lunch without heavy carbs.
2). Speaking of those carbs, here is how I decide what to eat or cook. First I choose my protein. Grilling lean burgers (yes we eat grass fed beef), having salmon, chicken or other lean protein directs for me the rest of the meal, which I keep very simple. All I need to do is add a salad, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato, etc.
3). EAT! A big mistake many of us make is skipping meals, especially breakfast. Our bodies are like cars that need gasoline to go. Without food, our metabolism thinks it can coast and it won’t rev up. It is opposite what one would think would happen.
4). Eat tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. I know, I know, what about the sugars in fruit? See next point please…
5). Everyone has a different combo of foods that works for them. For me, fruits are not a problem in weight management if I don’t overdo it.
6). In basic terms, clean eating is about eating fresh, whole, non-processed foods, and trying to avoid pre-packaged options. Tip: the outside isles of the grocery store are mostly fresh foods such as produce and meat. It’s those inner isles with the chips and other snacks that get us off course.
7). My basic cooking and eating philosophy hasn’t changed in 20 years. These days, I am incorporating many more different types of foods, without question. But my basic philosophy on cooking and eating is most definitely the same: 80% OF THE TIME, I COOK OR EAT HEALTHY; 20% OF THE TIME I COOK OR EAT WHAT I LOVE OR WANT.
Obviously, this is not an exact formula that I follow, but let me give you an example. We are blessed to have our nine grandchildren in Wichita at different times throughout this summer. My cooking and eating plan for all these visits is to enjoy foods they like, while adding some healthier alternatives here and there. And you know what else? I am going to enjoy every ice cream treat, every bite of pizza, and have a s’more with them over our fire pit.
But to be in preparation for that 20% time not cooking or eating my normal way, I am trying very hard to eat and cook smart while it is just Bob and me.
8). I am so very fortunate that I not only love to cook, but I love eating good food. Nevertheless, my life is often crazy busy, and this is when I buy a ready-to-eat roasted chicken and go through the salad bar. If fast food is the only option, I try to go with healthier options at places like Panera or Chick-fil-A.
If you “study” the photos I have posted here, and they are meals that I have cooked or prepared, you will be able to visually see my secret for keeping weight off or at least keeping it managed.
But mostly what I want to leave you all with is life is short and fellowship and food are some of the best parts of life. So by learning the secrets of how to enjoy food while still managing weight, we can indeed have our cake and eat it too!
Living and loving life together,