Happy Summer! Big A has been out of school for a week so we’ve been enjoying a more relaxed schedule. I still meal plan but I like to keep things flexible, like deciding to go an afternoon picnic to enjoy the longer days.
This week I have some vegetarian recipes I want to try. One of these is broccoli-parmesan balls I found on a website at work and the other is baked falafel. I have some refreshing dessert ideas brewing too. For more meal plan inspiration, make sure to visit Org Junkie.
What’s Cooking This Week
Monday: Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas with guacamole and summer fruit salad
Tuesday: Pasta Primavera with Broccoli-Parmesan Balls and a green salad
Wednesday: Kids’ Choice
Thursday: Baked Falafel with pita bread, hummus and veggies and a side of fruit
Friday: Grill Salmon and Asparagus with baked fries and fruit
More from Cooking Light…
I’ve received some questions lately about what we do on kids’ choice nights. I chose Wednesday because it’s the day I always work outside the home and my husband works late, so he misses dinner. It’s also the afternoon my kids are at my mom’s, so they tend to snack later than they would if they were with me. So they usually aren’t very hungry, especially Little D who often skips dinner altogether on these nights.
I usually give them two choices, depending on what I have in the fridge. If they ask for something else that isn’t one of those two choices (and I have it and it’s easy) they can have that. For a while, they wanted flat bread pizzas. If I have chicken and offer chicken tenders they always choose that (mostly Big A). But lately, I’ve been offering a smoothie as one of the choices and they have been going for that.
It really is just an easy night, which is nice because it’s the middle of the week. We spend more time playing then cooking. Also, our cleaning lady comes every other Wednesday, and it is the only time our kitchen is really clean so I do my best to not mess it up too much. Selfish of me?
If you do a kids’ choice night at your home how does it go?
How I eat
A new mom friend of mine recently told me she notices that I eat foods like cake and pizza (at Big A’s kindergarten promotion party). I think this surprises her because I’m a dietitian.
This got me thinking about how I eat and the road it has taken to get me here. When I first got into nutrition during college, it changed my life. But this honeymoon phase eventually turned into an obsessed phase. I felt I couldn’t eat food out because I didn’t know how the food was made. Everywhere I went, there was too much temptation and I felt conflicted. I thought about food — a lot.
When I would finally eat something like cookies or ice cream, I didn’t know how to stop. I also grazed a lot during the day and ate after dinner while watching TV, something I did since I was a child. My weight fluctuated up and down.
When I was 26, I got accepted into a dietetic internship in New Orleans to become a dietitian. I stayed in dorm-style housing without food readily available. I got free food from the cafeteria in the hospital across the street and would go there for meals. I hardly snacked, except for some food that I brought home from my meals like fruit. No eating in front of the TV.
One time while eating out with my friends and complaining about bread served with butter on it, my foodie friend asked me a question that changed my whole relationship with food: “You don’t enjoy eating, do you?”
I knew she was right. I was so caught up in what I should and shouldn’t eat that the enjoyment was lost. After that night I decided not to fight food those 10 months. But what amazed me was that I didn’t over do it like I had before. I learned I could eat indulgent foods without guilt (think beignets and jambalaya), and still maintain a healthy diet.
When I moved back home, I kept this balanced approach and felt completely liberated. As a result, I ate healthier and was much more focused on how food made me feel. Fat in food helped me feel fuller and so did fiber-rich foods like beans. In this WebMD post, I talk about how important breakfast is to me in terms of how I feel all day.
I also found that moderate amounts of my favorite sweets hit the spot and decreased my cravings. Instead of always trying to make a healthy choice, I honored my food preferences and sometimes made the unhealthy choice, but it didn’t lead to overeating. Just satisfaction.
As I did more reading and research, I discovered books like Intuitive Eating. This article in Huffington Post describes the basic tenets, which is what I did without even knowing it. This was also the time I looked into feeding research because I became fascinated how someone’s relationship with food is formed in the first place.
So I guess this is the story of how I learned moderation, which makes it easier to teach my kids the same. Yes, I eat foods like cake and ice cream, but I don’t over-eat them. Once I’m done eating them they are out of my mind. That’s the difference.
Have a great week!