Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Healthy Eating

Another post certain to send my readership soaring.

All summer I've been telling myself that come fall, I'm really going to make some more strides in cooking and eating healthier foods. Whole grains, less sodium, less processed stuff. Well, its fall.

The magic food fairy hasn't visited my kitchen to stock it with healthy food choices, nor has she dropped off a quick and easy meal plan for me to follow that my family will eat. Drat that fairy. She must be in league with the magic housekeeping fairy who also fails to frequent my house to clean and organize it while I sleep. Its a fairy conspiracy I tell you. Surely I'm entitled to free fairy labor.

And yet, here I sit, having to do all the research and figuring out on my own.

Here are my obstacles:
  1. I am not a great cook, nor do I have any desire to be an amazing chef. I'm interested in some decent results with a reasonably light amount of kitchen labor on my part.
  2. I do not have hours to spend cooking. Anything that takes more than 45 minutes from microwave defrosting of the meat to plates hitting the table is right out. I can make an occasional exception for a meal that get thrown in the crock pot or something that roasts in the oven for a longer time. But I'm not slaving over prep and stove time for hours.
  3. The Jedi is of the opinion that vegetables are what food eats. Beans are highly suspect as they claim to be part of the meat and protein group and yet come from plants. That makes most beans like the double agents of the food chain.
  4. Tuesday and Thursday are Tae Kwon Do nights for three members of my family. They need a dinner, but not a heavy dinner that's going to sit on their stomachs during the high-impact exercise of a Tae Kwon Do class.
  5. I'd like to keep my grocery spending for any week under $115, this including household supplies and such.
With those constraints in mind, here's what I'm thinking for lunches, snacks, and dinners next week:


Cheesy Chicken Bake. This uses cambell's cream of chicken soup and stovetop stuffing, so isn't quite part of the whole get away from processed foods goal. But I'll serve it with mashed sweet potatoes and whole grain bread.

Burritos: I found a recipe that doesn't use the prepackaged taco seasoning. Maybe I'll get doubly ambitious and try for my own refried beans. I personally hate the canned refried beans. Toa of Boy loves my homemade tortillas, but they violate the less than 45 minutes from start to finish rule, so I'll go with some healthier pre-packaged burritos.

Zucchini Manicotti: yum baby yum. I have to make some without the evilness of zucchini for the Jedi, but that's easy enough to do.

Cincinnati Style Chili: another yum baby yum moment is in order here. Notice the lack of vegetables or beans in this dinner choice. Too bad. It's too delicious to fret over. I'll make sure the kids and I have big salads for lunch that day.

That's four dinners, and none of them are light dinners for Tae Kwon Do nights. Hmmm....


Sandwiches and wraps: We have these at least twice a week. Turkey ham, spinach leaves, cheese, and in my case tomatoes and peppers, served up on whole grain bread or wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla or flat bread.

Broccoli Cheese Soup. This is good for another two or three lunches.

Bread Pizza. A kid favorite. One lightly toasts some slices of whole grain bread. Then you spread on spaghetti sauce, sprinkle on cheese, and add peppers, pepperoni slices, or whatever. You put them under the broiler for a few minutes and voila, happy children with a healthy lunch. Mommy generally opts for a salad on these days.

Spinach Salads. A big plate of spinach leaves topped with hard boiled egg slices, other veggies, and shredded cheese, topped with a dressing of choice. Not a kid favorite, but one that occasionally gets served up anyway.


Sun chips: We love these. They are low in fat and high in fiber. Relatively so at least.

Fresh fruit. Mmmmm.

String Cheese. Sweetling the Lactivore likes string cheese. Toa of Boy will eat if its the only option between him and hunger.

Fresh Guacamole. I actually spelled that correctly on the first try. I'm amazed with myself. This is Toa of Boy's favorite snack, and it doubles as a lunch since he'll polish off an entire avocado's worth of guac in one sitting. I slice open the avocado for him, then he scoops out the flesh, mashes it up, stirs in some lime juice and a dash of salt, and is a happy, happy, camper.

Popcorn. This isn't the healthy kind. In our house, our popcorn is laden with butter and salt.

Fresh Baked Goods.
This week, I'm picking up a pie pumpkin and making pumpkin bread and pumpkin cinnamon rolls. This violates the 45 minute guideline, but for baked goods its totally worth it.

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