WIAW: Flying Solo

I look forward to Wednesdays every single week, because Jenn, the fabulous female behind “What I Ate Wednesday” has created a time where the blog world unites to share fun new food finds and ideas that both inspire me to get a little more creative and step outside my comfort zone.

It also means the work-week is halfway through, which isn’t so bad either!

And this week I thought maybe I would discuss not so much of what I consumed specifically, but more about a trend that will occur in the upcoming weeks.

You see, my husband rotates his schedule every 8 weeks, where he will either work 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, or switch and be on a shift 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM.

Now I am a morning eater, and am usually STARVING as soon as I wake up.

Ryan is not, so on nights when he gets up, showers, puts something in his stomach and leaves, I do not usually make a gourmet meal, instead opting to pack him something a little more substantial for later and making our evening menu pretty simple.

On these nights we usually end up eating completely separate dinners since our schedules are so different, our hunger levels are opposite, and especially when it gets dark early, is dreary, or I am just being plain old lazy, crafting a meal for one does not sound so appealing.

BUT, since I have made it a goal of mine to eat full meals rather than snack my way through the day (I used to literally graze all day long and although it met my meal plan, wasn’t necessary to best habit to get into!) I keep a few staples on hand that make throwing a meal together easy-peasy, and pretty darn delicious.

All you clean eaters out there do not judge, because some of these items come out of a box (OMG GASP!) but that doesn’t mean they are horrible for me, or some chemical laden item that I am polluting my body with 24/7.

All things in life are about balance, remember, so eating a few frozen things, or not the most natural products, is ok sometimes!

In fact, sometimes opting for convenience is good for the soul because it leaves more time for relaxation. SELF-CARE and RELAXTION are best friends, don’t you know.

Moving on.

So here is my handy-dandy protein list:

Perdue Perfect Portions Italian Marinated Chicken

This is a great addition to roasted or marinated vegetables. Ryan loves when I simply bake this chicken, and then toss it in with penne, grated parmesan and balsamic marinated veggies.

He doesn’t even know its healthy, its that good.

Garden Burger Original Veggie Patties

I started eating these babies when I was in the hospital, and they are pretty much still a favorite in my freezer.

Eat one of these with Alexia’s Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries and it is my favorite post-Zumba sunday lunch.

Egg Beaters

Breakfast for dinner is the best thing in the entire universe! French toast, frittata, omelet’s, egg scrambles…I really do not discriminate when it comes to breakfast foods.

BEANS!

Taco Salads? Yup, delicious!

Laura’s Lean Beef 92% Lean Ground Beef 4 oz. Patties

I love red meat. I am sorry vegetarians, I just cannot get on board with that lifestyle. My body CRAVES red meat every now and then and I usually keep these in stock because they have pretty good nutritional stats and are really easy.

Again, bake some Alexia’s Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries and it is like a way healthier version of fast food!

And then of course I always keep a few more generic frozen items like shrimp, 99% lean ground turkey, chicken breasts, etc. just in case the mood strikes to do a little more work and have a nice salad topper or stir-fry fixin.’

In my pantry I keep…

YAMS and Sweet Potatoes

Honestly you can microwave these suckers and have the perfect side dish.

I love yams and sweet potatoes and my personal favorite way to eat them is with a little reduced sugar ketchup and chili powder. It may sound weird, but it tastes fantastic! In fact I had one last night with dinner.

Soups

Lately I have been in a total soup mood.

Anything by Amy’s Organics, Trader Joes Brand, Whole Foods 365, or even the low sodium Progresso and Campbell’s can be pretty darn good.

They are even more excellent paired with a grilled sandwich.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese, anyone? Yes. Please!

Microwavable White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

DON’T JUDGE the powdered cheese.

Trader Joes and Annie’s makes an amazing macaroni and cheese in a packet.

This is an immense fear food of mine, which is probably why I stick predominantly to the microwave varieties that are pre-portioned, but I love making a pouch of this and mixing in some steamed broccoli and al-fresco chicken sausage for a serious powerhouse dinner.

Even just plain is good for me, but calorically it is not very dense so all of you in recovery DO NOT EAT ALONE AND CALL IT A MEAL. I tried that with my husband and he pretty much laughed in my face.

In the Freezer Section…

Kashi, Boca and Trader Joes Frozen Meals

Now these entrees also get a bad wrap for being filled with sodium and non-filling ingredients, but if you really look you can find some pretty quality meals in the frozen section and amp them up with additional veggies!

My personal favorites are Kashi Pesto Pasta Primavera with added broccoli and spinach, and Boca Vegetarian Lasagna with added spinach.

(Can you tell I love spinach?)

I also really enjoy Kashi Pizzas and Trader Joes Reduced Guilt Vegetable Pizza.

I don’t make these selections a habit, but they are nice when I come home from work, am starving and want something quick that I can load up with extra nutrients, aka my produce drawer.

And if all else fails, I do resort to an occasional PBJ, grilled Panini, or other meals I have made and frozen with the intent of eating them later (hello, pumpkin chili, you are good all times of year!).

But I hope these ideas help if you are ever in a pinch, or can’t really decide what you want and are all alone.

For more suggestions check here, or send me an e-mail.

I am becoming quite the professional solo chef 🙂

Happy WIAW everyone! I promise it will be more exciting next week, because I am taking a little getaway this weekend!!!! Here is a hint 😉

PS. Look what arrived at my office yesterday! Our school’s FFA did a citrus fruit fundraiser and I got a mixed box of grapefruits and navel oranges (25 pieces of fruit in total) for a $17!!!

Now that is an awesome way to raise money if you ask me! The oranges are AMAZING!

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7 thoughts on “WIAW: Flying Solo

  1. aw what an informative post and just like you i am a morning eater,always was.These ideas are great but at the moment i have no microwave:(so my go to meals include tuna pouches(starkist)whole wheat wraps and sweet potatoes.i usually roast them the day before and the next day might heat a bit in the oven.i also batch cook quinoa and bulgur and during the week i cook them either sweet or savory.sweet as in with apples raisins nuts cinnamon and milk for breakfast and savory as in veggies saffron oregano garlic and salt for dinner or lunch.i reeally do miss my microwave but for now i have to adapt lol

  2. Toly and I are usually on the same dinner schedule but on those nights when I teach and get home late, I usually just make something quick for myself. It’s almost always oatmeal or eggs. BFD never fails me!

  3. Great post, as always. I, too am a morning eater but sometimes my ED tells me to sleep in (which I’m bad at) and combine breakfast with lunch. So, like you again, I’m trying to eat real meals instead of trying to skip meals and snack or nibble my way through the day. It isn’t conscious and it makes me feel horrible.
    “All things in life are about balance, remember, so eating a few frozen things, or not the most natural products, is ok sometimes!”- you are awesome! I say this all the time to people who get down on themselves for eating something touted as “bad” in the media. Life is about balance. Our bodies are so forgiving. let them be so.
    Also, Annie’s mac and cheese (fear food AND much loved childhood staple) is not horrible at all. I wish I had the brevity to make some for myself.
    Thanks for the tip of not making it a meal though- I’d probably have tried. Working on the pasta thing, of course.
    One thing I love are Amy’s frozen pizzas. I usually split them with my mom pared with veggies and a huge salad. hits the spot!
    I really am going to email you one of these days. It looks like you’ve just got so many great insights I need to tap!

  4. Kashi frozen meals are GREAT for dinner on the fly..I’m not a huge fan of frozen meals but they get the job done on the gloomy days (like today!) where I have ZERO motivation to cook!

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