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14 February 2008

i have a real problem. i don’t feed myself. not properly. a typical morning goes like this:

  • wake up
  • putter around for a while essentially accomplishing little to nothing
  • shower, hair, teeth, etc.
  • listen to NPR (while doing all of the above)
  • panic when i realize i have less time left than i thought to plan a lesson (or do whatever other pressing thing needs to be done)
  • leave home in a flurry of bags and books (i almost always have two and often three or four bags slung over my shoulder when i walk out the door; my neighbors laugh at me for this)

notice anything missing? i eat breakfast before leaving home maybe once or twice a week. and i almost never pack a lunch in one of my copious bags. sometimes i have the time to actually buy something that resembles breakfast. of course, it usually involves unhealthy food–cheese, lots of eggs, bacon, lots of white bread, or all of the above. sometimes it’s just a candy bar from a vending machine. and lunch? occasionally i walk across the street from campus and get a salad at the veggie grille. but usually it’s fast food. pizza. burrito. burger. fried chicken. soda. fat. greasy. nasty. i don’t like the way it makes me feel to eat like that. unclean. hyped on caffeine and sugar. loaded down.

worst of all? when i don’t feed myself, i get cranky. and unproductive. and discouraged. it’s not only physically unhealthy that i don’t feed myself better–it’s also psychologically and emotionally unhealthy.

on days when i don’t eat, i find myself four hours after a normal breakfast time needing to eat but not able to decide on food. and when i think about the easy, fast alternatives, their grease content depresses me and makes me not want to eat them. so i procrastinate eating even longer. but i know that when i finally do eat, i feel better. almost immediately. so eventually i cave and eat the nasty food.

here’s my challenge: i need to eat. but i need ideas of what to eat that’s relatively easy and relatively fast (because time and effort are the most common reasons i don’t eat in the first place) and relatively healthy. so if you’ve got ideas, i’d love to hear them. recipes. ingredients that are good to keep on hand. lunch food that packs easily in a paper bag or a lunch cooler. things i can eat easily in the car or on the go. because really–at 32 i should be able to feed myself, don’t you think?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 February 2008 6:30 am

    Ah, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. Eating healthy foods as part of your daily routine takes work. If you’re serious about it you need to do two things:(1) Plan(2) Go to the grocery store at _least_ twice a month, preferably once a week.Breakfast: there are lots of healthy options for breakfasts on the go. One of my favorite is individual packets of oatmeal. You can grab one on your way out in the morning or keep them in my desk at work. The downside to oatmeal is that you’ll have to have a mug handy at work – and possibly a microwave if you don’t have a water bubbler with hot water in your office.Other healthy breakfast alternatives – yogurt, string cheese, granola, etc. You can also buy your own healthy multigrain bagels instead of relying on Dunkin Donuts’ mass produced ones.Lunch – can be tricky, but if you have a Trader Joes nearby, they have tons of healthy options for lunch. Some of my favorite are their packets of Indian food that I eat with pita bread, or any of their soups. Their frozen lunches are also good, too. If you’re counting calories, Lean Cuisine makes fairly decent frozen lunches. If all else fails, peanut butter and jelly is a treat (of course this requires that you have non-moldy bread in your house).Snacks – Trader Joes has lots of tasty, healthy snacks. My favorite are the individually wrapped packages of almonds. Their granola bars are yummy, too. String cheese and fruit are the best healthy snacks.Dinner – I find making a big pot of something and eating leftovers for a few nights to be the best strategy. Beans and rice for tortillas, lasagna, stir-fry, etc. are all good options.Anyway, it’s not easy to eat healthy foods when you’re pressed for time. As you said in your post, it’s more convenient to buy an egg McMuffin on the go. But if you have an hour or two every week to think about what you want to eat and to go to the grocery store then you’ll feel much better about your choices.Good luck!

  2. 16 February 2008 2:28 pm

    Here’s my .02… I always pack my lunch the night before – I have a cooler I tote to and from work. I’m NOT a morning person, so in the mornings I have to keep things simple. Thinking what to pack for lunch requires too much brain-power.I usually have Carnation Instant Breakfast made with soy milk in the morning. It is somewhat healthy and will usually hold me for a few hours. When I get hungry later in the morning, I will eat some dry cereal or almonds or walnuts; or a combination of both. Lunch is typically soup or salad or sandwich, I try and have some protein as a side or included in the soup/salad/sandwich.Afternoon snack is some sort of dried fruit and a cheese stick. That is a good combo of carbs/protein for me. Also, it is not so heavy that I am not hungry for dinner.I’m no help in the dinner arena. I’m going to have to check back and see what suggestions you get for dinner… :)

  3. 16 February 2008 2:41 pm

    hi amy,i’m bad at this too. like arbee, i eat carnation instant breakfast in the morning. it’s the easiest way to go. i also take a banana with me everyday. they are just so easy to carry around and good for you to boot. for lunch and dinner i’m usually all over the place but i really like the salads at trader joe’s.good luck!

  4. 16 February 2008 5:15 pm

    Jesse got me into the habit of eating breakfast. So I’m not much of a help there. But as I’ve become the designated obento maker of the house, might I suggest making a bento for lunch. Rice, white or brown is easy in a rice maker. A couple of vegetables edamame, carrot sticks, cucumbers, broccoli, etc. Then for protein: boiled egg, scrambled eggs, even lunchmeat and cheese. Or you can put leftovers in. They are a bit of work at first, but you can cut up vegetables for the whole week or boil 4 eggs at a time and keep them in the fridge. If you have a rice maker that keeps the rice warm, then you can make it at night for dinner and use the leftover for the next day. good luck!

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