So as I continue to think through this meal planning stuff, I think about how I was doing it when on the South Beach Diet and what worked and didn’t. I would literally plan my meals alongside a SBD cookbook, and probably in the course of a week, I would intend to cook three recipes.
Well friends, let me tell you – that did not work so well. Now, my pantry and fridge were still stocked with SBD-friendly foods, so I did still manage to lose weight. The thing is, I probably got around to cooking just one of those meals each week due to time constraints, poor planning, whatever. And, a good chunk of the food went bad before I could manage to cook it. I did remedy this some by making two day meal plans (which inevitably lasted me 3-4 days by the time I had left overs, or a company sponsored/catered lunch or whatever). The thing about RECIPES is they require time – and never the 30 minutes the book promises. They always slip in ingredients like “chopped onions” but don’t take into account that it takes this girl a good 10 minutes to chop an onion properly… and that time was not built into the overall recipe.
This got me thinking about my grandmother. She was my rock. She was borderline diabetic for as long as I could remember (which if you know me, goes back to when I was like two years old), and only officially crossed over into diabetes in her early 80s, when I was in college. Well, the thing about it is she really is a good example of how to diet (and not the weight loss kind, per se). I would spend spring breaks and parts of my summers at their beach house and pick up on every little thing she did. I often laugh when I find myself eating 3 cups of popcorn out of a pyrex measuring cup or ice cream out of a stainless steel one.
The thing is, I don’t remember her cooking all that much. I know she lived the diet I’m trying to get to (in terms of portion control, good carbs, proteins, etc.). Even though I was gifted with her Joy of Cooking cookbook, she either had a few recipes memorized or just grazed on whatever was available.
Here’s what I’m trying to say: every meal does not have to be an ordeal. I do not have to try three new recipes each week. I don’t even have to COOK each week. Honestly, if a plate is supposed to be one-half plants – put raw carrots or broccoli down. For the ¼ carb? Last time I checked whole grain bread is a carb and can literally pull it from the bag and place it on my plate. Protein? Lunch meat, yo. NO cooking. Dinner is served. In under 5 minutes. Boom.
Is it the yummiest, most exciting dinner ever? Obviously not. Is it better for me than a burrito, burger or chicken nuggets? Hells yeah. If I’m honest, that meal really does not excite me – but it’s the most EXTREME example of how to make it fast and easy. I could HEAT some broccoli, scoop some left over quinoa, and figure out some kind of protein (though the quinoa has a TON protein – fyi).
My grandmother was 80 frackin years old. She did not cover her plate in beautiful, gourmet food. She did not slave away in the kitchen. She had generic, high fiber cold cereal every day with a spoonful of wheat germ on it. She weighed cheese and other stuff on a scale EVERY DAY. And even though she did eventually get the ‘betes, she staved it off for 20 years!
So, I’m going to take a few notes from my Ninny and stop over-complicating my meal plans. I need to own the fact that I’m constantly on the move (and away from my house) and carry food in my purse as best I can. I need a list of healthy things I know I can go to on the run…. Like a list of on the run food ideas I can reference.
I’m getting more and more excited about my new-found meal plans (even though I have not yet heard from my nutritionist on my “lost” email).