I first noticed a discrepancy in my diet when my daughter came along 18 years ago. Fruit is her favorite food. So much so she is practically a Fruititarian and watching her gobble up every apple and berry that came her way got me thinking: why isn’t fruit part of my diet? We hear about the dietary recommendations asking us to eat at least 5 servings of fruit a day but I’ve never been much of a fruit fan. I really don’t know why exactly, maybe it’s the texture of the skins. That’s why whoever invented smoothies has my undying gratitude. I know eating whole fruit is better for you than grinding it up but, hey, at least I am eating (drinking) fruit. Smoothies can be made in many different ways with almost any fruit and a blender. For the liquid, there are smoothies that use Vanilla Soymilk, vanilla or other flavored yogurt, fruit juice or even Chai Tea which is wonderful with mixed berries. Occasionally I do use one of these fillers when I’m not eating anything else and I am hungry. Most of the time though, all I use is water! It’s makes the drink low in calories and still so good. This, with a half of a peanut butter sandwich is my typical lunch. The combination goes well together and keeps me until dinner. I vary the fruit for variety and use fresh fruit where I can in the summer and frozen in the winter. I even buy some quantity of the fresh, like strawberries, in the summer when they are cheap, freeze them on a tray and pop them into a large Ziplock for use over the winter months.I never use fresh Mango because it is so expensive, luckily there are bags of frozen mango pieces in almost all the grocery store’s freezers.
Well, I have lost another couple pounds and am now the lowest weight I’ve been in years. All the time I wonder if I can keep it up or will it creep back up again? Especially with the holidays coming up. That will be a challenge. I just read an article (can’t remember where!) that said that eating at the same time every day and similar meals for breakfast and lunch helps to keep weight gain in check. I began to do the breakfast and lunch thing more out of convenience and the fact that I don’t like to spend a lot of time on those meals while I am working. Breakfast has always bored me and since I am mostly vegetarian there are not a lot of fast, easy options for lunch without making a study of it. I fell into a routine. Every week day I have 2/3 of a cup of my granola (recipe below) for breakfast, and for lunch a half a peanut butter sandwich (open faced) on whole wheat or whole grain bread and some kind of fruit. My favorite fruit is a combination fruit low cal smoothie (recipe later). On the weekends I eat whatever I want including pancakes for breakfast and leftovers for lunch. I just try and watch the calorie count. The grains in my granola hold me until lunch and the peanut butter is very filling. Peanut butter is not low calorie yet the trade-off is in the hunger department. 2 Tablespoons is 190 calories but you don’t need more than that to feel pretty full. I don’t really get tired of it, it always tastes good and when I change the fruit it is a nice lunch. This has really worked for me. I think the key is to find something you like (if peanut butter is not your thing) that has:
a) reasonable caloric content
b) fairly healthy
c) filling (whole grains really help in departments b and c)
Enjoy it 5 days a week. During hectic weekdays you’ll always know how many calories you are eating and that it will keep you satisfied until dinner time. That’s nice to know.
Now that that big speech about whole foods is out of the way, I am going to sound like I am contradicting myself here, but I am a practical person too. Of course whole foods are the best thing to eat but we don’t live by lettuce alone. When I find something at the grocery store that helps me hold the calories down and tastes great I go for it. Here are a couple of items that fit that description.
The first one is The Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese wedges. They come in wonderful flavors like Garlic and Herb and Sun Dried Tomato and only 35 calories a Wedge. The Wedges are a generous size and the fat content is also low: 1 gram saturated fat, no trans fats.
The second one is Skinny Cow Low Fat Ice Cream Bars. These are sooo good and only 100 calories per bar. They have several flavors but I highly recommend the Caramel Truffle. Saturated fat only 1.5! These treats will really help with the cravings with a minimum of guilt.
The “cows” have it going on!