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Time tables vs. kitchen tables

February 8, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Sometimes keeping a busy schedule makes it worse when a person is trying to change their nasty eating habits to something more healthy.

It makes sense that keeping busy would keep someone out of the kitchen, but the fact is that the busier we are, the worse our eating habits become. When we are on the go all the time, it is easy to pickup up processed convenience foods, stop at fast food restaurants and skip breakfast. We think that grabbing a burger and fries is faster than preparing a fresh food lunch each day and cooking a one pot-in-box meal is faster than chopping vegetables.

But it really isn’t. The time it takes to get to the restaurant, stand in line or sit in the drive-through at lunch time and then get back to the office, quite possibly takes more time than putting fresh fruit, soup or healthier sandwiches in a bag 10 minutes before we walk out the door. Or better yet, do it the night before while dinner is cooking.

Just like most people, when I get home from work after a long day, I just want to relax. On most days, I am fortunate that my husband likes to cook, but there are probably just as many days that I am either on my own, or he doesn’t feel like cooking either, so it is up to me to come up with a decent dinner. And worse yet, because we have different tastes and desires when it comes to our food, I often find myself having to make two dinners, one for him and one for me. Is it a pain? Sometimes.

But a few things I realized is that cooking can actually be therapeutic and can help de-stress after a hard workday. Chopping vegetables doesn’t become a chore any longer. I actually look forward to seeing what I have in the refrigerator that I can toss into a stir fry or a parchment pouch. The key is to not sit down first. Once your butt hits that computer chair or recliner, you’re done for. As soon as you walk in the door and hang up your coat, move right to the kitchen and start working.

Another little secret is this: you’ll find that the healthier you eat, the more energy you have to prepare those healthy meals.

Breakfast began yesterday with my favorite morning fuel, cereal with bananas and nuts. Just cereal and milk doesn’t seem to carry me through until lunch, but by adding a fruit for fiber and extra protein with a little fat in the nuts, I find I am satisfied throughout the morning.

Lunchtime was another story. I was hungry by the time I was able to eat and just the leftover soup from the day before wasn’t going to be enough. Besides, I knew my husband was planning to make soup for dinner, and although his soups are hearty, I needed something to get me through another late night until I could get home. I still had the soup, but added a mini-sub from Subway with turkey, lots of vegetables and their sweet onion teryaki dressing for something different.

There was no time for a mid-afternoon snack and it was later than I expected when I finally got home so it was a good thing my husband had dinner ready or I might have been too hungry to take the time for something a little healthier. He made bean soup, but he always uses plenty of potatoes, celery, carrots, onions and garlic in the soup, as well as white beans, ham and bacon. His usual recipe calls for sauteeing the vegetables in the bacon fat, but I asked him to sautee mine separately in a little cooking spray. My version of his soup didn’t taste any differently to me and I was glad not to have the extra saturated fat in my bowl. I left my cheddar crackers at my office, so decided to have a slice of wheat bread instead of saltines. It was satisfying enough, although a coarser bread, like corn bread or whole grain would have been better.


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Breakfast: 1 ½ ounces grains; 1 cup fruit; 1 ounce meat; 1 cup milk; 2 teaspoons oils; 30 discretionary calories