Diet food that doesn’t make you sad or take 45 minutes to prepare is hard to come by. Also, I should note that my current schedule has left me a bit lacking in the dinner department. I’m a single career mom on a diet, so I get off work at 5, drive through 45 minutes to an hour of traffic, pick up my daughter from pre-school, then it’s another 20 minutes of traffic to the gym, 1-1/2 hours at the gym (depending on my energy level and child’s crankiness), then home, where I feed and bathe my daughter, QT for 30 before bed (books and puzzles some days, David Bowie Labyrinth inspired dance parties other), and by then it’s anywhere between 8:30 and 9 pm before I’m able to think about feeding myself. I might start making my dinner while my daughter is eating, but a lot of times I try to shower in that time.
Anyway, the point is that I was eating a fair amount of salad with chicken or tuna for dinner and getting insanely bored. Also, I notice with diet food (and I know some folks don’t like to call it a diet, but it doesn’t mess with my psyche so I do) that it’s so often COLD if it’s a nice low calorie and nutritious recipe. I like cold food just fine, but warm food makes me feel more full, more satiated, more indulgent. So I’ve been making an effort to food prep on the weekend and pre-pack lots of warm dinners that I could freeze or refrigerate and just pop in the microwave or oven when I walk in and wouldn’t be required to over think servings, calories, cooking, etc. On my food logging app (I use Lose It!, but I think Spark People and My Fitness Pal offer it too) I can type up my recipes (even scan the barcodes on sauces and prepackaged components) and input the servings to calculate the nutrition facts. Then, once the recipe is saved on my recipe list, I can just type it into my daily log and all the info is right there in my calorie count. It’s a bit time intensive to begin, but once the recipes are there it’s easy peasy. And I use the recipes I typed in to re-create what I made before. It works for me.
I’m pretty proud of my accomplishments on Saturday. I chopped and cooked and packaged ALL DAY. It probably would have been easier if I planned and prepped more carefully and didn’t have a 3yr old sous chef, but regardless, I accomplished two weeks of homemade, nutritious dinners for around $100. Some will require a side item, but I’m a fresh/frozen veggie or salad on the side kinda girl. The calorie counts I am getting are truly gratifying, too. I’m talking 200-400 calories for main dishes. So some of these I could, feasibly, double a serving if I am still hungry, and some days I am. I’m going to make an effort to post the successful recipes here, with pictures. I’ll try not to make them all terrible cellphone pictures, but don’t hold your breath. You’ll get what you get. I’m not a food blogger, so this isn’t my instagram-forte.
Please feel free to let me know if you try a recipe, what alterations or improvements you made, and what you thought!