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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Those Weapons of War

Jem at "A Girl Worth Losing" is talking about the arsenal of foods that she uses to combat poor lunch choices. It got me thinking about my "main staples" that I tend to keep in the house. Generally, I don't eat meals that are vastly different from those I serve my family, but I need somewhere to run when I feel the need to snack. My dear husband can ingest all sorts of sweet and salty things, and he doesn't gain weight. Eating with him, the same foods and quantities, lead me to gaining a horrific amount of weight. It's a sadly ironic that he weighs what I would love to weigh, and yet he eats enough food that I'm left gaping in shock while nibbling on my wee pretzel sticks. How can that man eat a bag of beef jerky, follow it with half a bag of potato chips, and then drink a quart of chocolate milk? It is all beyond me, and it is pretty hard to lose weight with all of the food and eating going on around me.

My weapons of war are pretty simple. I don't do real fancy foods, as I don't have that kind of budget.

Meat
I keep the fridge stocked at all times with chicken, whatever I have the money for. Thankfully, I've been able to afford skinless chicken breasts lately, and that makes up the main protein for most of my dinners and lunches. I also keep frozen salmon fillets, and I like to have fish 2-3 days per week. Since salmon is a little expensive (reasonable though, since no one else here will eat it), I will sometimes eat tuna instead. I know that canned tuna isn't on par with the salmon, but I do the best that I can with what I've got.

If I am making a skillet meal or casserole, I will use either ground turkey or dark meat chicken. They provide different kinds of mouth-feel, and my husband doesn't complain about not having as much beef. Cow is more expensive, and isn't any better for us, so I only use it in small quantities. If I'm going to shell out money for beef, it will be for a small roast or steak, something that is too good to try and substitute. *laughs*

The only other meat-type food that I can think of that I use regularly are eggs. I'll list them here, instead of in dairy. I use them as a main protein source sometimes, instead of meats. I've eaten Egg Beaters, and they are great for making healthier baked goods and such. However, if I'm eating eggs as a main part of my meal, I choose real ones. Generally, I scramble one whole egg with 2 or 3 egg whites. My dog needs the extra fat to survive the winter, so I don't feel guilty about not eating them. *wink*

Produce
I am big on vegetables. One of my main staples is cauliflower. I can eat it raw when I'm on the go. It can be tossed into a baggie or tupper bowl as I run out the door. Usually though, I steam cauliflower and mash it with a little salt. I eat mashed cauliflower nearly every day, particularly if I'm hungry and low on available calories for the day. I also eat a lot of lettuce, yellow squash, sweet potato, red potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and peas. I get away with eating the starchier vegetables because I don't eat much in the way of packaged convenience foods or baked goods.

I should probably write something about fruit, but I don't eat much of it. Sometimes I will eat a few strawberries, the rare banana, maybe even a cold pear. I just don't desire much fruit.

Grains
I am an oatmeal eater. I eat oatmeal almost every day. Sometimes I eat pouches of instant oatmeal, but I also cook my own oats. By cooking my own oats, I control what goes into it, and how much. There isn't much better on a cold morning than cooked oats, sprinkled with ground walnuts. Yum.

For those times when DH is eating chips and such, I try to keep some pretzels in the house. If I'm drinking a lot of water, sometimes I will also snack on a serving of pretzels, so I can get the salt (usually in summer). I used to keep animal crackers in the house, but I started eating too many of them. They don't live here any more.

I don't eat much bread, but I eat the Aunt Milly's lite bread when I want a sandwich. It only has 35 calories per slice. That works for me, since I usually just want something to hold my meat and veggies in. Mustard gets messy otherwise.

Dairy
I use skim milk. I'm not a great fan of it, but it also keeps me from being tempted to eat a bowl of cereal the size of my head. I pour a little in my coffee. I might put 1/8 c. in my oats. If I need to be reminded about how not satisfying cold cereal actually is, I will use the skim for a small bowl of cereal. I don't drink milk as a beverage any more though, which is a huge change for me. When we were kids, my sisters and I drank milk like it was water. I just don't like drinking my calories.

I do keep some cheese in the house. I allot myself one cheese slice (60 calories) for an omelet each day, if I want one. I may have a string cheese instead though, for a snack. I try to be careful with the cheese though, because I like it a lot and can easily eat too much of it.

Light ranch dressing is something that I use a lot. I mix it with tuna, instead of Miracle Whip or Mayo. I use it to top potatoes, instead of butter or margarine. I eat the occassional salad with light ranch. Sometimes I will use it to lubricate a turkey sandwich, though I generally use mustard.

Dannon Light 'N Fit yogurts are wonderful. When I feel like I need something sweet, I will have one of those. They are only 80 calories, and I get to sit and nurse it for a while so I feel like I've had a more substantial snack.

Lastly, when DH is having ice cream, I treat myself to a no-sugar-added fudgesicle. Depending on what brand I buy, they are between 40-50 calories apiece, and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. He can have his huge bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate syrup, and I can feel happy with my own (better) choice.

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