Monday, July 23, 2012

{31 Things} Day 11: Nourish

For the most part, I am an extremely predictable eater. Mostly because I have a tight group of favorite foods that I’m happy to eat over and over again, and partly because it’s a lot easier to put most of my food decisions on autopilot. I think I come by this honestly, as I can only remember about ten meals being served at my dad’s house during my entire childhood. We had a tight schedule: Friday was Wendy’s (kids meal for me, classic single with cheese, no onions no mustard for him), Saturday morning was toast, or pancakes if we were feeling fancy, dinner was Kraft Mac and Cheese- maybe with a hot dog. Sunday breakfast was usually cereal- kid favorites like Special K or Product 19- and then dinner was Tuna Helper. (During lent the dinners were rotated so tuna night fell on a Friday). I don’t specifically remember lunches, but I know there were a LOT of grilled cheeses, with a bologna sandwich thrown in there for variety. Before you retroactively contact child services, let me say that while this is how I remember it, my brain probably stored only a kiddie version of the actual truth, so I’m sure there were other foods- such as Neapolitan ice cream, and strawberry shortcake- that I’m forgetting. There might have even been a vegetable or two thrown in over the years. (I kid- there definitely were veggies- we had three favorites from the frozen section, but they’re still veggies.)

Dustin has similar memories of childhood meals (though his revolve around Stouffer’s lasagna, ground meat and gravy, and something he calls “Sh*t on a Shingle”.) So it’s not exactly a surprise that we have a set routine when it comes to eating. With about 5% variance, here is my daily food intake:
  • Breakfast: banana, Activia light yogurt (four rotating flavors), granola bar. In the winter I swapped in a cup of instant oatmeal and if Dustin gets ambitious and the pantry allows, he’ll make me a piece of toast with cream cheese and cinnamon & sugar. (though this was mostly an occurrence during my pregnancy) 
  • Lunch: lean cuisine and a bag of veggies (bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumbers, snap or snow peas). 
  • Snacks: red seedless grapes, raw almonds, a gala apple, and crackers and cheese (again, only if we’ve been diligent about going to the store, and Dustin had ample time to pack “fancy lunches”)  
Dustin’s menu is pretty similar, but his breakfast is a protein shake, and he swaps the lean cuisine for a salad- either homemade or bought from the company café. About once a week we’ll each get sick of whatever we packed, and “treat ourselves” to a lunch out- grabbing sandwiches at Subway or hitting up Qdoba for Taco Tuesdays.

The big question mark to our dietary day is dinner. As much as I like consistency during the day, I crave variety at night, but that requires a level of planning and effort that I find it difficult to muster up on a regular basis. We’ve tried to get better at meal planning, but our inconsistent schedule, spotty grocery shopping, and pure laziness when it comes to cooking, makes it tough to have a freshly prepared dinner on the table each night. The challenge is that by the time we’re both home from work, and Piper is fed, it’s already getting late, so dinners need to be quick and easy. We also have to resist the urge to skip cooking in favor of fast food, pizza or take out. Our current goal is to plan three meals a week- figuring that each one will feed us for two nights, allowing us a break from cooking every other night. We have a master calendar with categories lined up (like pasta, slow cooker, or sandwiches), and then we match up choices from my overflowing recipe pile. So far it’s been a mild success. We’re definitely cooking more (or at least Dustin is!) and we’re getting better at using up the food we buy (nothing is worse than spending a ton of money at the grocery store, only to have all the food go bad because you spent a ton more money eating out instead). Meal planning and prep is definitely one of those necessary evils of being a grown up, but if we’re diligent, maybe Piper will remember us for something more than our weekly quesadillas.


  1. I have been trying all summer long to plan out meals so as not to have to resort to grocery shopping with five kids. I get distracted when I do that. Even with my handy dandy grocery IQ. I'm getting better but it's something that takes years to master and I've got a long way to go... Hang in there.

    Ps I did survive Sams club and shop n save Friday and Saturday with kids in tow. Not the best scenario, but it I survived and managed to remember all on my list! I'll treat myself to trader joes sans kids this weekend :-)

  2. Well, you didn't grow up fat! And maybe you learned a little about the value of a dollar. xoxo

  3. My sister and I were raised by my dad. I remember a ton of eggs and toast dinners, pork and beans from the can, and things like macaroni with ground beef. And of course grilled cheese with Campbell's Tomato Soup. And chipped ham sandwiches. His veggies du jour were always succotash, peas, or corn and lima beans served separately. Our Wendy's treat came in the form of submarine "hogies" from a convenience store called The Little Super. You could also rent movies there. :)

    Love reading about your memories, old and new, and knowing I am not the only one (especially in the summer) who buys a ton of food and then lets it go bad because we are eating something else instead. Like the Moe's we had tonight.

    Although, I've been beast at packing Derek some "fancy lunches" these last couple weeks. :)