Someone asked me, "I know you have to cook for 12 children, so what kinds of things do you eat throughout the day to fuel your running and at the same time maintain your weight loss?"
Let me say right off that I don't like to cook. Maybe I would if I had more free time during the day, but between Josh and our 12 kids, my job (I work from home), running, laundry and chores, homework, etc. etc. etc. there just isn't a lot of time left to cook. If I could wave a magic wand three times a day and have food appear on the table like it does at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, I would be all over it.
I do usually eat different foods than what I feed the kids (they almost never have anything left over!), although on weekends we usually all eat the same dinners. For the kids I typically make big batches of filling, kid-friendly food like enchilladas, pasta dishes, dirty potatoes, tacos, chili, lasagna, etc. I do serve at least one fruit and/or veggie at every meal for them and all of my kids are pretty good eaters.
Throughout my journey of trying to be healthier, I discovered that eating 'better" has as much to do with what you DO eat as it does with what you don't. I think that when people think about dieting and eating healthy they often think of all the stuff they "can't" or "won't" eat. Once I focused on what I could and should eat, I found I wasn't hungry and it was a lot more positive outlook.
I also don't count calories (I know that is blasphemy in some circles but I just don't). I do read labels and am very aware of the calories, fat, etc. in the foods that I eat and use that info to make good choices, but I don't count or tally my calories. I do stick to "serving sizes" on packages for snacks, etc. but I couldn't tell you how many calories I eat in a day.
Here are some things that I eat regularly now that I almost never ate before -
Lots of fruits (easily 4-6 servings a day), especially berries. LOVE them. They are one of my favorite "new foods"
Lots of veggies (again, easily 4-6 servings a day). I am quite sure that just over two years ago there were times that I went at least several days without eating a single vegetable. Seriously. Spinach is one of my favorites right now, either fresh or sauteed in a pan with a tiny drip of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
beans - I love them in rice or in chili. They are so versatile and tasty.
yogurt (usually Greek, often with berries)
whole grains (pastas, breads, brown rice, etc.)
fish (everything from canned tuna to fresh salmon)
hummus (really, really good) I love to put hummus and tomato in a whole wheat tortilla and grill it like a quesadilla.
sweet potatoes and regular potatoes (ok, so I always ate lots of "brown" potatoes, although now I am baking them instead of frying or mashing with butter. I love my baked "brown" potatoes with some salsa on top or some broccoli and cheese, and a baked sweet potato is perfect with a little cinnamon).
popcorn - Again, I always have loved popcorn but now I have a healthier alternative. I love the Smartpop 100 calories bags. They are one of my favorite snacks.
gum - Ok, so I don't eat gum, but I chew it a lot. I found that sometimes I just want something in my mouth, and having something that tastes sweet and keeps my mouth busy keeps me from eating when I don't want or need to.
I also drink lots of water (instead of can after can after can after can after can after can of diet soda... I never drink diet soda now. On the very rare occasion I have soda for a treat, I have the real deal).
Here is everything that I ate yesterday to give you an idea of a typical eating day for me.
During my early-morning 19 mile run on the treadmill - four Hammer gels and 22 ounces of Hammer HEED drink
Breakfast - a large glass of chocolate milk (1% milk and Ovaltine) and my breakfast of champions (loaded oatmeal). Seriously I have this for breakfast 99 days out of 100. I crave it.
Snack - 1 orange, half of a green apple, and 1 serving of organic, whole grain pretzel sticks
Lunch - a whole wheat bagel with turkey, cream cheese, lettuce and tomato (I ate the whole tomato) and a big side of sauteed spinach.
Snack - I bag (100 calories) of Smartpop Kettle Corn popcorn with a handful or two of Cocoa Puffs thrown in. This is a "revamp" of my old favorite - double buttered movie popcorn with a bag of M&Ms thrown in. The new version of this snack has under 200 calories and is a big bowl of snack that takes a long time to eat and is super satisfying. I love salty and sweet together. :)
Dinner - Josh made a huge "vat" of sliced potatoes and baked them, and we topped them with canned tomatoes, diced peppers, seasoning and a little cheddar cheese.
I had one chocolate sandwich cookie that Amanda shared with me, and then I was done eating for the day. I sipped on my water bottle filled with Banana flavored Nuun all day and refilled that quite a few times.
And that is a pretty typical food day for me. Besides my breakfast I do mix things up a lot and am always looking for new ideas so if you have a favorite healthy meal or snack, please leave a comment. :)
What's your favorite stuff to eat?