Sunday, December 20, 2009

Get your soup on

Soup is the quintessential sick day food. But, it's also just as versatile when you're well. Broth based soup is low in calories, and can be easily filled with vegetables so that you're getting some servings of your 5-a-day with minimal effort. (Creamy soups aren't so much, but I have a few tricks I use to turn my broth based soups into creamy ones without the fat, to be revealed at another time.)

To make soup is pretty easy, I just made this today, sans raisins because I hate them. I now have a bucket of soup in my kitchen! I can eat it cold, heat it up, pair it with bread, add meat to it, strain it and use the veggies as a sandwich filling..the soup is mine!

Had to do it.

I also had soup earlier, and I was equally proud of this mash-up. Last week, I took a canned soup, Progresso light Homestyle rice & vegetable, strained it --- by straining it you aren't eating all the sodium in the liquid -- and put in the fridge. Today, I took the leftovers and added some leftover seafood sausage from Trader Joe's and shredded green cabbage, then microwaved it to piping hot. It was quick, tasty, veggie pack and low in calories. I also had leftover, homemade buttermilk whole wheat biscuits, but really the soup mash up was so good, I could have done without them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Timing's everything

I was just thinking about time management, and how I've improved. (Allow me to say, I am terrible at time management, but I've learned how to do it through trial and error.)

Meal planning and time management can actually be very good friends. A chief complaint I find that people make with healthy eating is the time, convenience will often trump price, and this slippery slope leads to poor eating choices or over reliance on processed/fast foods.

Time management to me used to be the idea of setting side a fixed time, say an hour, to do an activity and then, do another activity afterward, right? Problem was, I didn't do the activity, because I'd procrastinate. Or, I actually would do it, and then it took longer than expected. Now, I choose to think about what I need to do & what I need to finish over the course of a longer fixed time (week usually) and just pick one or two things to get me started. So, for example, if I wanted to bake something for a get together Saturday, I don't shop and bake on my late nights (Mon or Thursday), I pick up the items midweek and bake Friday, and while I'm baking, I can make quick meals like pasta dishes or salads.

So, think about your week, and sort of highlight things like family dinners, dinners out with friends, late work nights, errands & food shopping days. Once you've analyzed strengths and weaknesses, you can center in on making better decisions. If you work late, survey your work area for healthy take out choices so that when you're hungry, you have a plan. On lighter days, combine food shopping with a friend or family member and prepare meals together. Twice the work, twice the meals, but not twice the time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Thanksgiving is usually the time to pack it on. It's gluttonous glory! That being said, I actually lost weight for thanksgiving. I've been on a streak, too, with last year being the only time I maintained weight vs losing weight.

I'm the anti-thanksgivingier, da da dum!
How do I do it? I really don't know, but here's some of my food for thought.

Run around a lot. If you're occupied, the natural push or high you get from dealing with things or getting things done propels you. Once you come back from this wondrous 4-day break, it seems to me that stuff piles up because everyone was in a hurry. If you actually finish a task, project or chore, it won't be waiting for you Monday.

Eat some orange things. Seriously. Comfort food can be fattening, but I've found a lot of starchy veggies that can cut the fat -- carrots, sweet potato, pumpkins and butternut squash. They are often high in fiber, high in Vitamin A and have natural sugars that can really add a mellow sweetness to dishes. This is before of course you bake them, fry, or lard and load them up with stuff.

For lunch last week I made my first Sheppard's pie, which combined leftover turkey, fresh veggies (you could use frozen but I opted fresh) and store-bought butternut squash I had leftover. It was seriously comforting, and it totally used up all my leftover turkey.

Innit purdy? It was goooooooooooooood, too.

Be happy. Holidays usually lead to get-togethers which usually lead to some sort of distress -- it can be travel plans, store-lines, not enough time off, traffic, the family members themselves -- all very stressful in bad wats, but what about the eustress?

What is eustress?
Eustress is happy stress. (Even my spellchecker doesn't know what eustress is) I was happy for the freaky, apocalyptic weather of the week, the day off to sleep in, cyber monday deals, and just generally feeling so-so or okay with the world.

Hope your holiday was happy, and slimming.

This is also a shout to my brother. He enjoyed the day, and is slimming down as we speak. Good job, bro!