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.
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.
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.
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.
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!