Saturday, 4 August 2012

It's all about the preparation - musings on healthy eating

Photo courtesy Johnida Dockens, Licensed CC-BY-NC-ND
As the Nerd and I were thinking about what to eat this weekend it occurred to me (not for the first time) that eating well is something that takes forethought and preparation.

It's not just knowing vaguely that you want to "cook something healthy" - - you need to know what recipe you will be cooking and what ingredients are required so that you can make sure the right food is on hand.  It's tough to cook nutritious meals when all you have in the cupboard is SPAM and Nutella.

And for me, given my completely dysfunctional relationship with food, it's not just about having the good food in the house so I can cook - - it's also necessary to keep the bad food out of the house so that I don't binge on it.  I have the discipline of a dog when it comes to late night food cravings.  Confronted with a bag of microwave popcorn, or a bag of tortilla chips and cheese, I will gorge until I can't move and then I will feel bad about having binged.  And then the cycle repeats itself.  The only way to stop it is to make sure the trigger foods are not in the house. 

It is so much easier to eat badly than it is to eat well.  I could stock my pantry with 7 boxes of KD* and have a week's worth of meals for $14 - - and 4 weeks worth of calories, and 6 weeks worth of sodium.  KD has lots of empty calories that fill you up, and it's available in every corner store.

Today the Nerd and I spent 30 minutes planning our meals for the rest of the weekend and writing a grocery list.  I think we were buying one of everything in the produce aisle, or at least it looked like it - - broccoli; zucchini; red onion; white onion; bananas; kiwi; tomatoes; spinach; melon trio - water, honeydew and that other kind that I can never remember; strawberries; cucumber; pineapple; carrots; and red pepper.  Add to that healthy low fat yogurts, high fibre cereal, low fat cheese, and turkey breast, and you've got the makings for three days of low fat, low carb meals.  All for a mere $170.  (!)

KD is a lot cheaper, a lot lighter to carry home, and takes less thinking.  I can understand now why my single-parent mom fed me a lot of KD as a child (along with vegetables, to be sure).  As an overweight adult who needs to break bad habits, KD is a cheap food I can no longer afford.

*Kraft Dinner, for non-Canadians

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