I am sharing this with you because it has been a difficult journey for me, and I am still figuring it out. When we first got married, I had no idea what kind of meals to make (as a single person I had been used to eating frozen burritos, macaroni and cheese, and quesadillas for dinner most of the time). As time went on, I developed menus based on this system:
- choose a meat
- prepare it with a yummy sauce or in a creamy casserole, usually with lots of cheese
- supplement it with a fruit or veggie on the side (on a good day)
- Meat, while it contains protein and other good nutrients, also contains a lot of fat, and we eat much more of it than we need. A serving size of meat is about 4 ounces, or half of a medium-sized chicken breast. And we can get many of the same nutrients from eating beans, whole grains, nuts, and fish.
- Vegetables, on the other hand, are loaded with nutrients, and have very few calories. A serving size of vegetables is much larger than what we usually eat (for instance, there are only 3 servings in one of those big pre-packaged bags of spinach). Our meals, instead of being meat-based with veggies on the side, should be vegetable-based with a little meat.
- A good portion of the fat and calories that we eat comes from the sauces and condiments that we use. If we flavor our foods with spices and vinegars instead of creams and oils, we can cut down significantly on the calories and fat content of our meals.
So, I am in the process of redoing my menus. I am searching for healthy and tasty meals--hopefully ones that won't cost an arm and a leg, or take hours to prepare. I will share my finds with you (later...this post is already too long), and I would love it if you would share yours with me.
Now just in case you think I am as fanatic as this post makes me sound, I must admit that I still put sour cream on my burritos, and I still eat chocolate on a regular basis. We go out for cheeseburgers sometimes, and we eat ice cream when the urge hits. The difference is that we used to eat like that all the time, and now we are trying to shift the balance so that the majority of what we eat is healthy.
I have said before that I think we often focus too much on losing weight, and we are too hard on ourselves about the way that we look. I hope you don't see my efforts toward healthy eating as hypocritical in view of that statement. Rather, I hope you can see that I am concerned for the health of my family, and I am searching for realistic ways to stay healthy while still enjoying food, because I do think eating is one of the great pleasures in life.