If there is one homemaker duty that I’ve been struggling to find joy in lately, it’s cooking. I told you in a previous post that I had been lacking passion in this responsibility and that our move has sort of given me a boost. Well, another much-needed boost (i.e. kick in the butt) has happened: Travis signed up for Farrell’s, and with it, I apparently signed on for a little workout of my own – culinary style.
The Farrell’s nutrition plan, which Travis (and now our whole family) is attempting to follow, requires the eating of six small, balanced meals per day. This has required commitment from Travis, of course, in the area of self-control (portion size and food selection), and from me in the areas of shopping, planning, prepping, and serving.
To be completely honest, prior to this I had pretty much been hating – and therefore denying – snack time. When I’m struggling to find joy in cooking, the last thing I want to do is spend my in-between-meals time figuring out snacks and standing in the kitchen fixing them.
But, If I’m to do my part in supporting Travis through this (and I want to), I don’t really have a choice.
Sunday night, just before the next morning’s start of his 10-week class, we went grocery shopping, with list in hand, as a family. It was fun. We bought healthy stuff, we had ideas, we had motivation, and it was a team effort.
Five days in, I can say it’s actually going pretty well. We’re transitioning our bodies to an eat-every-three-hours schedule, the fridge is full of “fuel,” and I’m shifting my thinking in regards to food prep. As much as I’d previously been struggling to enjoy it – and sort of dreading having to do it more often – somehow, the demand of discipline has had a way of bringing joy to the process.
I’ve been reminded that eating (and feeding my family) is supposed to be enjoyable. God created us to eat the good food that He also created. Our bodies were made to crave – and to require – the fuel that keeps us going. Our social culture, like social cultures the world over, is built around food and the fellowship that happens when we dine together with others – because it’s enjoyable!
I’m not going to claim that I’ve got this down – I don’t. I’m still very much struggling (failing) to make a written plan (though I am getting by sufficiently by thinking ahead and keeping the shelves stocked with options), and I’ve fought frustration with the voicing of that familiar phrase, “I’m hungry,” when there’s something I’d rather be doing than putting another meal together. But I am surviving and growing (so far), and that’s worth something!
Coming up with ideas for six balanced and healthy meals a day is no easy task for this recovering burned-out mama, but here are some of the protein/carb/veggie combos I’ve been serving this week.
Meal #1 (“Breakfast”) – sausage patties and hashbrowns, breakfast burritos, breakfast casserole, scrambled eggs with fried potatoes and kiolbassa sausage (my current favorite way to eat eggs [which are not my favorite food, by the way])
Meals #2, #4, and #6 (Mid-morning, Mid-afternoon, and Late-evening) – fresh carrots, fresh celery, frozen peas (straight out of the freezer – one of my kids’ favorite snacks), small deli sandwiches, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit (apples, strawberries, grapes), fruit and yogurt smoothies, peanut butter balls, cheese sticks, applesauce
Meals #3 and #6 (“Lunch” and “Supper”) – chicken breasts with bacon and swiss cheese, steamed broccoli; baked beans with kiolbassa sausage; tuna sandwiches; pork chops, baked potatoes, sauteed green beans; beef tacos; grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches; beef stew; salmon patties, mashed potatoes, sweetened tomatoes
A few other “fuel” ideas on my (unwritten) plan include: hard-boiled eggs; deviled eggs; and dinner salad with chicken, bacon, eggs, and veggies (mmm… sounds good!).
A new week is approaching. What ideas can you share with me for small meals that balance protein and carbs? What are your favorite fibrous snacks?