Monday, May 16, 2011

Cooking, Part Deux

So I blogged back in October about how I don't cook. Well, that was actually the beginning of my "to-do" to learn how to cook. And I have reached a new turning point in my cooking skills: I no longer buy anything microwavable. HUH?!

Well, I decided that buying lean cuisines or what have you, though they are convenient and low in calorie, are not actually that good for you. I came to that conclusion while reading about how the new Weight Watchers point system actually gives more points to microwavable dishes even if they are lower in fat/calories than other foods based on many other nutrition factors (and fruit now has 0 points- because who gets fat on eating fruit?). This got me thinking- am I really being healthy with all my processed food? 

So slowly but surely, I began buying more food al-natural. I copied my roommate in buying veggies, fruit, pasta and meats as my main foods with no frozen dinners (ahh!). This would mean I would HAVE to learn to cook. I also stopped buying bread (except for lunches), only buy enough snacks for one week so not to allow myself to eat more than what I have (remember my uncontrollable love of wheat thins?), and even gave up buying peanut butter (it's a drug- I want a spoonful here and a spoonful there and then a jar is gone in two weeks). Now, I always ate the same thing every day for breakfast (oatmeal or fiber one cereal and a banana), lunch (half turkey sandwich, pretzels, yogurt and carrots) and snack (some type of granola bar) but I started doing the same thing for dinner once I knew what I could cook. And this is basically what I eat in some ratio every week: chicken or shrimp with bagged frozen veggies in balsamic (I sometimes add rice or a little bit of spaghetti- usually I have this 3-4 nights a week, lol), grilled tuna with balsamic and asparagus, a boca burger with potatoes and asparagus, or egg whites with pretzels and hummus, and all meals are started with an apple and finished off with some delicious fro-yo (turkey hill is my jam). I usually eat at my parents one night a week (and now we are eating my favorite meal- poppy seed spinach salad with shrimp, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries....so good) and go out to eat one night a week (Panera is my favorite joint). So I am set.

I am a creacher of habit. I know many people couldn't eat the same thing every day or every week. But I find comfort in a routine and when I buy the same things every week, I find that I save money because I am not venturing out into specials or cravings with impulse buying. I also like to not be hungry at random times- if my body knows what it is getting I rarely find myself out of sorts in regards to hunger. Though I do listen to my body and will eat something if I am craving it (i.e. Pizza or even the occasional cereal for dinner). However, I have really enjoyed cooking and eating literally "outside of the box," and I find that I am fuller eating prepared rather than processed food. I also feel I am giving my body more nutrients and I have picked meals that are easy to prepare- nothing takes more than 20 minutes because I can defrost/marinate things during the day so all I need to do is sautee the meal on the stove.

But I am always looking for ideas! My brother recently told me how he only buys meat local, and never buys something he can make himself (like bread, granola, soup, ect) and I think there is some truth to that view, too. I am no vegetarian, but I only eat fish and white meat, and I have been starting to look at what is local or organic vs. chain. I am slowly changing my views on that aspect of food- but, hey, one thing at a time!

So if you have any good meals that seem to be up my new cooking alley, let me know!
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