There's nothing better than the summer time to me. Of course, I've spent the last six months panicking over my weight relative to the looming prospect of wearing a bathing suit. Well, now that the sun has emerged and melted offf all the ice and snow from a rather harrowing winter, I can't help but smile as the sun shines down on me.
Summer is a great time of the year for foodies - especially those of us who are particular about what is going in ultimately against our waistlines! Fresh summer fruit and produce beckons. It's a great time for berries in particular. If you check out my blog this week you'll find a tasty recipe for strawberry salad. As a matter of fact, my kids and I had a 4 lb. haul of strawberries from a pick it yourself farm in Wayne, NJ. With temperatures in the mid 80's and a nice breeze cutting across the field, we couldn't have a better day! Not to mention all the delicious strawberries we brought home! And at 49 calories per cup, strawberries make for a tasty summer indulgence! AND, besides a naturally low calorie content, strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C, a good dose of the oh-so-important dietary fiber, and a satisfying burst of sweetness.
And the best part about upping your consumption of summer fruits and vegetables is that it really does very little to your calorie count. If you check out the Weight Watchers points system, you'll see that many vegetables have very low point counts. Best of all, they're a great way to fill full - it's easy to get away with eating a larger quantity of fruits and veggies, without sending your calorie counts off the charts. Not to mention, all the good you're doing your body in terms of fiber, hydration and nutrition.
My thought for this week? Get thee to a farm market for some fresh produce this summer season!
Who says resolutions belong exclusively to the new year? I think I resolve to do something every few days to be perfectly honest. Every day is a fresh start to me, a new opportunity to make myself better, fix something that's not working, change an attitude that's doing me a dis-service. So it is in my relationship with food. Ever changing, always being fixed, refined, tuned up.
As a nearly 20 year veteran of media, my work is insanely demanding on the best of days. Fold into that running my home and taking care of my wonderful children, and thoughts of taking care of myself are usually the first thing to make the cut. Shamefully bad decision on my part, especially now that I'm a single, working mom.
Despite working out regularly, taking the stairs where I can, walking instead of riding where I can, etc., etc., etc. - all the stuff I point to in my blogs, food is always where I find the greatest difficulty. And did I mention I have chronic fatigue? It only gets better! With all these demands in my life, and knowing that I have thyroid and potentially adrenal problems, you'd think I'd try a little harder, but I find it easy to neglect myself. Which is why on the rare occasion I get sick, it's of epic proportion. Rewind back to my 43rd birthday this year when I was deliriously sick for 2 days with a fever and a sore throat that felt as though I swallowed Draino.
What's the answer? Planning. It always comes back to planning for me, which is why I stopped off at the grocery store on the way home from the dojo tonight to pick up some fresh produce. What for? Well, I invested some time in myself this evening, and cooked up enough lunches for the week, and bagged up portions of cereal, veggies and fruit to take me through the end of the week. If I plan ahead, take my vitamins (which I did tonight!), eat nutritionally balanced meals, I know I'll feel better, shake my brain fog and tame the crankiness that everyone around me is suffering because I'm not taking care of myself. How much time and effort did I invest? An hour, if that. That's all it took to make a batch of lunches for the week. What did I make?
- Breakfast - Raisin bran with fresh blueberries and goji berries - approximately 250 calories in total. Bagging up a cup of raisin bran, a 1/4 cup of blueberries, and 2 tbl of goji berries will give me fiber to keep me full & regular, and plenty of antioxidants!
- Lunch - Brown Rice & Squash - I like to think of this as my "idiot's delight" since it's so easy to make! Check out my recipe below. It's not pretty, but it packs a great nutritional punch in the combination of everything.
- Snacks - Fresh Veggies - As I sliced up my squash, I saved a few extras, along with the excess mushrooms, some grape tomatoes and fresh carrots with a tablespoon of hummus for dipping. Yum!
- Dinner - Usually planned out ahead of time with my kids. I "back fill" the meals for the rest of the day based on what I have going on for dinner.
Shaking my nutritional neglect and taking control of my meals will definitely help me to feel better, clear my fog and hopefully make me a bit more pleasant to be around! There's always an opportunity to make another attempt, our bodies are more forgiving and will fix and repair if given the chance. Putting some efffort into planning my meals can only make me feel better and make my body function better. An investment in time and effort with great dividends!
Here's my own "idiot's delight" recipe (so named since it's simple enough for an idiot like me!) if you're interested in giving it a try. Not pretty, but packed with fiber & nutrients!
Lisa's Idiot's Delight
- 1 Cup Brown Rice
- 1 Yellow Summer Squash
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Chopped White Onion
- 1 Bell Pepper
- 2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
- 1/3 cup Seedless Raisins
- 1 Tsp Garlic Salt
- 2 Tsp Dried Parsley
- Cook or steam brown rice according to instructions.
- Slice & quarter squash & zucchini, along with onion and bell pepper. Place into a pot with about 1/4" boiling water and "sweat" the vegetables down for about 15 minutes before adding in the sliced mushrooms and raisins, add in garlic salt and parsley and cook for about 15 more minutes.
- After the brown rice and vegetables are finished cooking, mix together in a large bowl, and voila! You have a healthy & nutritious meal with only 133 calories per serving