Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Different Perspective on Healthier Eating

I've been writing a little bit lately about my overall health and some steps I'm trying to take to improve. It's no secret that I've pretty much been a lifelong junk-food-a-holic but lately things have been changing. 

I'm making most of my meals at home, I try to always have fresh fruits and vegetables and I've been trying to plan ahead so I know what I'm "supposed" to make and eat on any given night. It's not perfect, but it's working pretty well, and I'm still shocked every time I finish cooking some sort of dinner that I actually eat and enjoy. :) 

Not the fanciest thing, but I'm doing my best!
Don't get me wrong, the meals are simple and probably nothing I'd want to serve anyone else, but for me, they are a big deal. In the past couple weeks I've made sauteed yellow squash over bowtie pasta with balsamic vinaigrette, couscous with stir fried peppers and onions and elbow macaroni with sun-dried tomato pesto and salad and have eaten lots and lots of brussels sprouts. (Who knew? Yum!) Even if I'm eating a Morningstar Farms veggie corn dog or veggie patty, I still try to have a side of some sort of vegetable and possibly even some fruit. I mean these aren't gourmet meals, friends, but I did look up on the internet how to make spaghetti squash and eggplant because that seems like a fun job to tackle some day! 

I've been planning out my lunches too. Sometimes I take leftovers from dinner, and other times I make a good old PB&J. No matter what, I always include a little baggie of some combination of grapes, strawberries and blackberries. I got these little organic fruit strips at Target that are only like 45 calories but offer a punch of post-lunch sweetness for the afternoon. Oh, and I never, EVER skip breakfast, whether that's yogurt, a cereal bar or some (homemade, woot!) banana bread. 

This is water in case that wasn't clear! (OMG a joke and a pun in the same sentence. I've died.)
My reality also is -- I still like pizza, so sometimes I eat it. I also saw this box of beer bread mix at the store today, so I got it and made it. (I think I saw so many posts about soda bread on St. Patrick's Day I had bread on the brain!) And speaking of beer, I still enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer some evenings. And I'm still a dessert person too ... because I'm Anna Lafferre not Richard Simmons Lafferre. :) 

I've gone through phases before where I've tried to eat better and get enough exercise in (still working on both of those) but have always fallen off the wagon into some sort of junk food stupor. So I've been wondering what's different about this time. 

One thing I've thought of is the above-mentioned planning. When I actually write out what I'd like to make for dinner or take for lunch, then that's what's in my head, so when I get home that's what I make. I don't have to think about it. So, yeah, planning is definitely a big part. I also try to have those fresh things on hand, and when I realize I'm running low, I make a quick trip to the store to pick up the essentials. I also got those little snack bags so I can make sure I always have some grapes or whatever easily on hand. These are all things that have really been helping me. 

Those easy-to-grab snack bags are where it's at!

But I think the biggest thing is -- I'm not being unrealistic. I'm not NEVER GOING TO EAT PROCESSED FOOD AGAIN. I'm not NEVER GOING TO EAT A CHEESEBURGER AGAIN or NEVER EAT SIX COOKIES IN ONE SITTING AGAIN. This might be realistic for some people, but it's not realistic for me. And the last thing I want is a major guilt-trip on myself because that never ends well. Ever. What I'm trying to do is just eat a balance. If I really want a piece of cake after dinner (like tonight) then I'm also going to be sure that I ate vegetables with dinner and I have a good breakfast ready to go tomorrow. Because the last thing Anna needs is Anna hating on Anna. 

I'm also not trying to lose weight or lose weight for a thing, you know? Like I'm sure I could stand to lose 5 lbs. like almost everyone, but I am not on some militant mission lose 20 lbs. Nor am I trying to fit into my bathing suit or an old dress or whatever. I honestly am trying to eat better for my overall health and how I feel. I'm not getting any younger guys. :)

Yum! Just kidding ... this is Snicks' food. Sometimes he gets what I eat too, like this yellow squash (not sure if he's eating it, I think he's taken a few bites) and this piece of strawberry. Healthy for everyone!

I think the best motivation for more healthy eating came on a blog post of Amy's I recently read. She was talking about some things her family is focusing on in 2014, and better eating is one of them. The reason? An "effort to prepare ourselves in this time for whatever God would have for us in the future, to be prepared and ready to give love freely and openly again, a joy."

Um, is that not the best thing you've ever heard?! Honestly I can wholeheartedly say that that is, by far, the best reason I've ever heard for focusing one's energy on eating better. No "lose weight" no "run a marathon" (both valid goals if you feel strongly about them), but to prepare now to be in the best shape you can be for whatever God would have for you in the future. 

Bring on those brussels sprouts! :) 

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