If I get asked one question more than any other it would be, “Katie Day, how do you stay so thin?” *
*oh wait that has never happened. ever.
Alright, so I’m not the model of health/slenderness, but the good news is that I am 100% committed to learning and growing, and hopefully someday getting this whole food thing figured out. If you read my two previous posts on this topic, I talked about finding a happy medium between a skinny girl who obsesses over food and a chubby girl who eats whatever the heck she wants. I also talked about tithing my time and making running a priority.
Well, today I’d like to share with you a few tips I’ve learned over the last six months or so.
I’m a busy lady with a slow metabolism so these tips are catered to a working mom with kid(s) who has zero experience cooking elaborate meals and whose husband has the fastest-metabolism-known-to-mankind. But hopefully even if that doesn’t fit you exactly, you can relate to a few of these tips. (Oh…also, I’m a devout whatever-the-opposite-of-a-vegan is.)
Tip One: Pick one day a week to go grocery shopping.
If you aren’t going grocery shopping at least once a week, I have news for you, you aren’t eating very healthy. Fresh stuff rots. So plan on a weekly trip. I choose Monday, but I also work at home. The upside is that the trip usually goes really, really quickly. I like to buy a month’s worth of meat once a month and then pick up fresh veggies/fruits/bread, milk, eggs, butter once a week. It’s fast, quick and easy. Callie knows the drill and she gets a free cookie from the bakery at the end if she’s a good girl. We practice naming all the food as we pass, and she greets every old lady and baby she sees. (We will eat everything in the picture below this week.)
Tip Two: As soon as you get home, wash, divide and conquer.
As soon as you get home, wash, divide and conquer. Callie goes into her
cage i mean, highchair, and I go into turbo-mode. All the meat gets portioned into freezer bags by individual dinners. So, a pack of 6 steaks become 3 bags of two steaks. Think in terms of what you want to thaw. Make your own 100-calorie packs. My favorite snack is red grapes. So into snack sized pouches they go. (Before you angry-green-moms start yelling at me, I always reuse the baggies, so chill out….hippies.) The baggies sit visibly in the fridge for me to grab quickly as I run out the door or sit down to work. The whole process takes less than a half hour, yet it is lasting convenience for the rest of the week.
Tip Three: Make a meal-plan for the entire week.
I’m not a chef. At all. So my meal-thought-process goes like this “What’s my protein? What’s my veggie? What starch should I make for my 100-pound husband?”
My friend, Allison (who I owe this entire tip to. It’s her tip and it changed my life) is more fancy than me and looks up elaborate 25-ingredient meals. I do not. I find the simpler it is, the fewer ingredients, as well as the fewer hidden carbs and fats. I pan-sear almost everything in olive oil. Or we grill-out. Or we crock-pot. I try to eat half the starch that Jared eats. Is it fair that he can eat a billion grams of carbs and lose weight and I look at a bagel and gain 5 pounds? No, it’s not. Get over it. I have to eat fewer carbs than him. Period.
Note: This is the plan for this week. I try to alternate meat-types. Beef, Chicken, Pork…repeat. Also, I know that I have a photoshoot on Thursday, so I made it a crock-pot day so that dinner’s waiting for me when I get home.
Tip Four: Eat fresh first.
You’ll also notice on my menu board, that the week begins with all the fresh veggies. If I run out of fresh stuff by Friday, that’s when I tap into the fresh-frozen bags. I steam them with a little bit of butter and sea salt. I’ve got a steamer. It’s nice.
Tip Five: Your kids should eat the same thing as you do.
What you won’t notice on my menu board is a second column for ‘Callie-meals’. That’s because I’d like her to eat healthy, too. If we’re having grilled chicken and broccoli, she doesn’t get her own mac-n-cheese. No way. Picky eaters are MADE not born. We all sit down together. We hold hands and say a prayer and then Callie shouts “AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Tip Six: As you cook the evening’s dinner, set out tomorrow night’s meat to thaw in the fridge.
For some reason the number one thing that overwhelms me when wondering “what am I going to cook for dinner?” is when there isn’t meat thawed and ready to cook. I don’t really like to nuke it because i always end up cooking it a little. So, have it thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Boom. It’s ready. One less thing to think about.
Tip Seven: Set out fresh fruit where you can see it.
But, wait won’t it go bad faster? For me, personally the answer is no. If I keep my fruit in the bottom of my fridge closed in a drawer I NEVER EVER EAT IT. But when it’s in it its cute little wooden tray, I find myself grabbing pieces all the time, and more importantly, so does Callie. When we had Jared’s leftover b-day cake sitting out, all we heard was “CAKE! CAKE!!!!”. When it’s not there all we hear is “Or-ange??? Or-ANGE????” Yes, Callie, you may have an orange!
Tip Eight: Go out for ice cream. (Or Know your Weaknesses)
For me, it is ice cream. If I have ice cream in my freezer, it’s all I can think about. So I had to make a tough decision. Sometimes it helps to make a decree. Here was mine a year ago “From this day hence, we will not keep ice cream in the house!” If we want ice cream, we go out. To Orange leaf, to Andy’s. Then it becomes an event. A memory. A treat.
Tip Nine: Treat vs Snack.
And speaking of treats, let’s take a minute to define what that means. I learned this from one of my parenting books. A snack is something provided to feed your child between meals that promotes nutrition. Example: a piece or fruit, peanut butter and crackers, carrots. A treat is a special occasion food that has nothing to do with nutrition. Example: ice cream, cookie, JUICE! These are also excellent motivators. If Callie is good while grocery shopping, she gets a cookie at the end. If she behaves in Target, she gets apple juice in the check-out line. (And she KNOWS IT, when we pull up to Target, she shouts JUICE!!!!!!!!!!) And for future-Callie, If she has a really bad day/break-up/bully-encounter, that’s when it’s time to go out for ice-cream. And for future-FUTURE Callie, that’s when mama takes her out for margaritas. : )
Tip Ten: Start over next meal.
I used to be enslaved by “the diet starts on Monday” type of thinking. So if I screwed up on Tuesday, I could enjoy a long week of over-eating. Forget that! When you over-eat (and you will! just yesterday, I ate at Red Lobster and had carbs with a side of carbs) start over the very next meal. Forget it. Move on.
The main thing I’ve learned is that for people who are not naturally thin, then you HAVE to prepare. Prepare and plan. We don’t have the luxury to eat whatever crap is laying around. We have to make sure that there ISN’T crap laying around. It’s irrelevant that it isn’t fair. Take control! Also note that most of these steps for me are taken care of in 2 hours every Monday. Plan on one day, reap the benefits the rest of the week!
(As I mentioned I LOVE learning, so please leave any additional tips in the comments sections below! Thanks!)