Friday, November 16, 2012

Rest for the Long Roads

Nutrition is important.

Sometimes, after a bad day, it's easy to want to indulge in some junk food.  Please tell me I'm not alone in that.  After a long, frustrating day, there are few things that feel better than Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked Fro-Yo.  Or Caribou Coffee Java Chunk Ice Cream.  And when you're talking the occasional rough day, I feel ok with that (everything in moderation, after all). 

But when the road is long, and the end isn't in sight, all those bowls of ice cream really start to add up.

I've noticed that there is a distinct difference between the way I feel after a big plate of Mexican food and the way I feel when I've eaten a healthy meal with lean protein, fruits, and veggies.  I can think better, I feel better, and I'm less grouchy.

Personally, I find that the options need to be easy.  Really easy.  So I keep a bowl of apples on the counter, and usually a couple of bananas, and string cheese in the fridge.


An example of a (good) day for me:

Breakfast: 1/2 c. Fage Greek yogurt with 1/2 c. berries, sprinkled with Truvia
Snack: Dried fruit and nuts
Lunch: 1/2 c. Cottage Cheese, crackers, veggies with yogurt dip, fruit
Snack: apple, string cheese
Dinner: Baked chicken, broccoli, salad, with baked apples for dessert.
Other: If I'm hungry, I eat - usually a piece of fruit, or a veggie

This is just an idea of a sample menu, but you can get an idea of how I eat.  I try to keep a variety of fruits and vegetables on hand that are in season, and I eat a lot of them as an easy snack.  I've often been eating several apples a day recently! But I can get them on sale, and they're filling and healthy.
Side note: We try to involve the kids in understanding healthy choices, and we talk about it often.  My kids can both categorize the contents of their plates into proteins, carbs, good fats, fruits, veggies, and "junk."   It's been fun to see them take an interest in healthy eating!
 The other day we were talking about the benefit of apples, and Isaac admitted feeling some doubt as to the extent of their effect:
"I don't think an apple a day really keeps the doctor away, unless you throw it at him."   The kid makes me laugh!
It's easy to rationalize eating junk food when you're busy, stressed, and tired.
I did, and I found that I felt even more tired, and even more stressed.  I've felt so much better since making healthy eating a priority. 

I'd love to make gourmet meals completely made from scratch.  And there are quite a few things I do make from scratch (you can check out my recipe page for a few ideas).  But there is a season for everything.  And when I'm on a Long Road, I have to keep healthy eating really simple so I can stick with it.  

If eating healthy seems like a really big change, you could try just one little step at a time.  Maybe start with a fruit bowl filled with apples on your counter, and string cheese in the fridge.  I think you'll find that the little changes pay off - I know I did!

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