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Taking things along

June 4, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
When my daughter and her family come to visit, they often bring along some of their favorite non-perishable food, just in case I don’t have it on hand.

They know me well because I usually don’t some of their favorites on hand. Their take-along items often include things like toaster breakfast turnovers and sugary cereal, which are things that I never put in my pantry. They also bring granola bars and bags of snacks that I often find were left behind after they leave.

I was happy on our last visit to learn that my granddaughter is no longer eating the toaster turnovers before she heads out the door to school. Now to get her off of the sugary cereal. It’s a process.

I don’t buy many varieties of granola bars, but sometimes I will look for ones that have the least amount of sugar. Most of the packaged granola bars claim to have lots of healthy things, like oats, nuts and fruit, but in reality you might as well eat a chocolate bar for breakfast.

When we visited them recently, I took a cue and brought along a few of my favorite items, the first of course, being oats. It turns out that to my surprise, she had a large container of quick-cooking oats in her pantry. Perhaps there is hope.

Taking healthy food items along on vacation shouldn’t seem strange. It’s quite easy to pack a bag with nuts, oats, healthy granola (preferable homemade), fruit and even a few favorite vegetables if you are going somewhere they can be prepared, whether it’s a relative’s house or a condo on the beach. If we’re taking a road trip, we often take a cooler along filled with fruit juice and bottled water. The key is to be prepared for those moments when fast food or other unhealthy choices are all that is available.

Tuesday is usually my busiest day at work and this day was no exception. I pretty much knew what I would be in for and that I needed to get an early start. Because I had to leave earlier than usual, I opted for a quicker to prepare meal of eggs and toast. The bread I chose was a whole grain sprouted bread found in the organic frozen food section of most grocery stores. I love good crunchy toast and this bread didn’t disappoint. I spread it with about two teaspoons of real butter, not margarine or a butter-like spread, which is mostly water that makes my toast too soggy to enjoy.

Real butter can be expensive, but this is probably the only way I have it and those times are rare. It lasts quite a long time this way. I buy it in large chunks to save even more, cut it into manageable pieces and freeze what I can’t use quickly. It is possible to buy real food and still not spend a huge amount of money at the grocery store.

The protein from the eggs and butter as well as the whole grains in the toast kept me more than satisfied until lunch. I didn’t take the time to pack, so I bought a chicken salad and a bowl of minestrone soup for lunch, but found the salad was quite enough. I ended up giving the soup away.

My husband, who is newly retired and finding out his days are even busier than when he went to work, didn’t have time to start dinner, so we decided to go out to eat instead. For dinner I ordered a chicken bruscetta sandwich. It was served with two slices of toasted Italian bread and consisted of a grilled chicken breast on a bed of spinach that was sauteed in a balsamic vinegrette. The chicken was topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. I ate it as an open face sandwich with one slice of the bread. I also chose the salad bar over the French fries that normally come with the dish.


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Breakfast: 2 ounces meat; 2 ounces grains; 100 discretionary calories (butter and sugar in tea, not shown)