Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What I Eat

I'd like to preface this post by saying that I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, so please don't assume I'm some kind of expert. But, I know what worked for me.

If you're on a weight loss program, the fewer choices you have to make about food a day, the better. I don't mean to imply that you have to have a boring diet, but it's nice to not think too much about what to eat. It just muddles your mind and makes you hungrier than you were in the first place. If you have just a few things that you rotate for each meal, it makes things easier.

I can't stress enough how important planning is when you're on a weight loss program. You've no doubt heard this before, but it's true. I often know roughly what I'll be eating a week ahead of time. I plan out dinner menus for the entire week so I only have to go to the grocery store once. I stock up on "staples" that I always have for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Planning a week ahead of time is enjoyable to me. I'll be the first to admit I enjoy being organized and making lists and planning things out. If that's not your thing, then try planning tomorrow's meals. If that's too much, just think about your next meal. Just having a game plan is a huge step in the right direction.

I try to eat about 350 calories for breakfast. I break it up into two small "mini-breakfasts." I eat the first one before my morning workout (about 6 a.m.), and the second when I arrive at work (about 8 a.m.). Also, if you've read my food logs on PeerTrainer, you might have noticed that I don't think "breakfast" has to mean eggs, toast, etc. Have dinnery stuff too, if you want! Here are some of the things I enjoy eating for breakfast:

1) Leftover sausage and bean stew. This is a dish that I make for dinner at least once a week, then live off the leftovers for a couple of days. I like having it before my workout because it has protein and also some sugar to get me kicking. It's right around 200 calories per cup.

2) Waffles. Eggo makes really good nutri-grain blueberry waffles. I use sugar-free syrup. Two waffles and 1/4 cup syrup is 215 calories.

3) Cheerios mixed with Dannon Light yogurt. A cup of Cheerios is 100 calories, and the yogurt is 60. I've eaten this stuff every morning for almost two weeks and I love it.

4) Smoothies. In a blender, I mix one cup of frozen mixed berries (70 calories), 8 ounces of Light and Healthy Tropicana Orange Juice (50 calories), and a container of Dannon Light yogurt (60 calories). Blend it up and enjoy for only 180 calories.

Lunch usually comes out to be around 300 calories. I typically eat leftovers from dinner, or I even eat the stuff I normally have for breakfast. Here are some other things I typically have.

1) Turkey sandwich. I get the Oscar Mayer deli turkey, which is 45 calories per serving. The bread I get is 40 calories per slice. Then, you can put mustard, or light BBQ sauce on it and wind up with a decent sandwich for around 150 calories. I'll have this with cottage cheese and fruit.

2) Soup. Progresso makes light and low-sodium soups that actually taste good. The whole can is around 120 calories. Have a turkey sandwich with it, if you want.

3) Lean Cuisine BBQ Chicken Pizza. These things are really good, and they are 350 calories. Have some salad greens with it to make it more substantial.

I like to eat snacks that are 50-100 calories. I always get hungry at work around 3 p.m., so that's usually when I have a snack. Sometimes I have a morning snack too, but I'm often so busy at that time that I don't notice I'm hungry.

1) Fruits and veggies. Snack time is when I eat a lot of my produce. I like apples (around 60-80 calories), bananas (100 calories), carrot sticks (I don't count these as calories), frozen berries, etc.

2) Soup At Hand. These are portion-controlled soups that you drink from a cup. Do yourself a favor and get the low sodium ones (which still have a lot of salt, but it's better than the regular kind). These are surprisingly filling and they make me feel warm during these cold winter months.

3) Curve Bars. At 100 calories each, they have some fiber, chocolate, and peanuts. I wouldn't call them filling, but they tide me over until dinner.

4) Cottage cheese. I love the Daisy brand 2% cottage cheese. When I open the container, I pour off a little of the liquid since I like mine thick. It's 90 calories per serving. Good stuff!

I really like cooking, so dinner is the time where I'll experiment a couple times a week and try new recipes. is a great resource, and it's free. Admittedly, I don't get enough vegetables in my diet, so I've been making an effort lately to try to have some veggies with dinner. Here are some of my favorite meals:

1) Semi-homemade pizza. I get the Pillsbury French Bread dough (NOT pizza dough), roll it out on a baking sheet, top with a small amount of pizza sauce. Then I pile on the veggies. I really like spinach, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, squash... then I add a small package of reduced fat feta and bake it at 425 for about 8-10 minutes. Cut into 8 squares. Two squares is around 300 calories. Serve with salad greens.

2) Moroccan Chickpea Stew. This stuff is vegetarian, but so hearty and nourishing. The recipe is by Alexandra Jamieson, who happens to be married to Morgan Spurlock, the dude who made the film Supersize Me.

3) Morningstar Corn Dogs. Two of these are only 300 calories. We eat these every Tuesday night while we watch The Biggest Loser. On the side, we have the light Ruffles (yes, the ones with Olestra).

4) Tilapia. I get the frozen tilapia, thaw it out, and dust it with chili powder and a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Then I cook it in a pan sprayed with PAM olive oil spray. Tilapia is only 90 calories per serving, so you can eat a lot of it without feeling guilty. You really can't go wrong with fish.

5) Fudge pops. If you get the no-sugar added ones, they are only 40 calories each. I have one of these after dinner pretty much every single day.

So, these are some basic staples of my diet. I could stand to eat more fruits and veggies and less salt, but other than that I think I'm doing pretty well. After all, I've lost 89 pounds this way!

I'll tackle eating out and cheat days in a different post.

No comments: