Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Eating, meal planning and running (now that I'm home)

When I was working, here's what a typical day looked like with respect to meals:

Breakfast - I would eat something (quick and easy) when I arrived in the office, around 8:30.  Most days it was either yogurt with granola or a pop-tart (or two.)  Hey, I'm being honest.  Every Friday, someone would bring in bagels and on occasion, there would also be donuts.  Still being honest, I ate everything.  Even the cream cheese. But not all in one sitting.  (I've always lived by "everything in moderation.")

Lunch - I need to eat lunch at noon, otherwise, I'm especially grumpy.  (As opposed to normal grumpy.)  During the winter months, I brought my lunch almost every day because I didn't want to have to go outside unnecessarily.  I would bring a sandwich or leftovers.  Whatever I could pack quickly the night before, because there was zero time in the mornings.  If I didn't have a yogurt for breakfast, I would sometimes have one for lunch with some fruit (banana.)  If I bought lunch, I had a handful of places that I liked.  There was Salvatore's for pizza (they have a tomato, spinach and feta pizza that is delicious) or a greek chicken wrap.  Some days, I went to the cafeteria, which was in a different building, for the salad bar.  If I wanted a sub, Pace's was down the street.

Snack - Because Rich and I were eating dinner late (usually between 7:30 and 8:30), I needed a snack in the afternoon and I can tell you now that I wasn't eating anything like carrot sticks.

Dinner - The earliest we arrived home was 6:30 and because there was no way the girls would wait that late to eat dinner, Grammy would feed them earlier.  We tried to keep these meals basic due to not having much time.

It has been much easier to eat healthier now that I'm home.  I can keep my lunch small because I know that I'll be eating dinner by 6:00.  That was a bit of a transition for the girls and they still require a snack (or two) to make it that late.  They were used to eating dinner between 4:00 and 5:00.  There will be a night or two where we'll need to eat earlier once dance starts up again.  Another big transition is having the girls eat what we eat and that leads me to meal planning.

I've been trying to prepare meals that everyone will eat, which hasn't been easy.  I wouldn't exactly call the girls picky eaters.  They are always willing to try new foods, but for the longest time, they were in the habit of deciding what they wanted to eat.  This came from Anna's (and Emily's almost) diagnosis of failure to thrive many, many years ago.  I had to explain to my grandmother how you can no longer just place a plate of food in front of your kids and if they don't eat, they don't eat because then you'll find yourself with the "failure to thrive" label and a nutritionist asking how many food choices are offered at meal times.  This is the Failure to Thrive generation.

Here are some of the meals I made last week that went over well:
  • Roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots (also roasted in the same pan)
  • Baked ziti, roasted broccoli and garlic bread    
  • Chickpea patties, roasted cauliflower and lima beans

It took a few tries before I figured out the best way to make and cook chickpea patties and the first time I made them Allie announced, "Well, that was a disaster," but the girls really like them now.  That was my first time roasting cauliflower and I thought it was delicious.  The girls ate it up as well.  I think we are going to try roasted cauliflower and chickpea tacos.  (Sorry, Rich.)  I sort of dread meal planning right now so this week, I asked the girls for their input.  I also need to spend some time searching for new recipes.

I've continued to run three to four times a week.  Mostly three.  I'm still not running very fast or very far so I haven't been sharing.  Word on the street is that you need to run an 8 minute mile marathon or you're not "inspirational."  I once had someone tell me that running a 10 minute mile (after they asked me how fast I ran) was "respectable."  That always stuck with me.  So if you run slower, it's not respectable?  (This is me being normal grumpy.)

When I run during the week, I'll head out after I clean up the dinner mess.  After the girls return to school, I'll change back to day running.  We still have a month of summer vacation left.  A month!


Robin said...

Anyone who puts running shoes on and leaves the house to run vs. running errands is an athlete in my books. Why would you let someone you don't even know tell you how fast to run? You're doing amazing just by being out there.

Teej said...

I also dread meal planning. There seem to be so few options that are easy for me to make on a weeknight and that my picky children (5 and almost 2) will eat. And it's so depressing to see the effort you do make (like last night's mini meatloafs and mashed potatoes) complained about or, in the toddler's case, on the floor. The kitten got some delicious, delicious bites of meatloaf before I noticed.

Color me impressed that your kids enjoyed the meal of chickpea patties, roasted cauliflower, and lima beans. I am pretty sure my 5yo would think I was trying to poison him. And even I don't really like lima beans. As a kid, I called them "slime-a" beans.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

One little tidbit from my time at home...I kept a food journal of the meals I cooked in a week. [Even a bullet-point list in Excel will work.] After I did that for a few months, it was/is great to thumb back through and be reminded of some things I haven't made in a while.

I also keep a Pinterest board of "Recipes I've Made". That's an easy way to thumb through, too.

Jen Tang said...

Hi, I love your blog. Also, the girls are beautiful. I am mom to twin boys (just turned four). They are picky eaters and generally avoid veggies although they are very good with fruit. We were also of the "let's cook what they will eat" because they were so small when they were babies. I am wondering how to expand their food choices. Any ideas to share? I'd be thrilled if my boys eat your meals listed above! Thanks!

D said...

Apparently you also aren't a respectable runner unless you run at least 10 miles every time you run. I've been running 3x per week since the beginning of June and over the weekend I made it 5 miles, which I think is pretty good for only a couple months of running. I told my boss that today and he said "That's...decent." Thanks, man.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Robin. I completely agree. Whenever I see/hear that someone is running, it motivates me to run. It's like everyone is always trying to one up each other.

Teej - Haha - I'm sure if I had tried to feed mine chickpea patties when they were 5, mine would have thought the same thing! I do have one that is picky with vegetables, but 2 of them LOVE lima beans.

Mandy - That's a great tip. I do need to start keeping a list. That would make this easier.

Jen - Some of it may come with age. But we do offer/ask them to try different foods. I think all of us eating the same meal helps because if the adults are eating it, it has to be tasty.

D - that makes me soooo angry! 5 miles is awesome!!!

Katie said...

I've got triplet daughters (they'll be 5 in a couple weeks) and a toddler son. They all eat what we eat. If there's something I make that they really don't like, they aren't required to eat a full serving but at least try. After several tries of a meal that isn't their favorite (over the course of a few months) they'll usually eat it up without any trouble.

Sarah said...

I am currently working on planning a monthly meal schedule in hopes of having meals planned that everyone will eat and me not having to dream them up. I will share if I actually accomplish this! @lifewithleahy

Christi said...

oh phooey on the person who said that 10 minute miles isn't fast enough.
I ran 12 minute miles so I think you are really fast! LOL D, 5 miles rocks! You go!!!

For new dinner ideas to try, I really like Smitten Kitchen (always a winner, always a recipe that works), Dinner A Love Story (she has several "deconstructed" meals to help with all the different likes and dislikes) and Skinnytaste (especially good for slow cooker/Instant Pot ideas).

I like your idea of having the girls suggest dinners. Sometimes it is so hard to come up with new ideas! Or to remember something you haven't made in a while. Do they help in the kitchen too?

Sarah said...

Thanks, Sarah. Yes, please do share!

Christi - thanks for the food websites. I have them marked. The girls have been helping in the kitchen. They are really interested in learning how to bake/cook.

BreezieGirl said...

I would love to run a 10 min mile. Speed has never been my strong suit, so I'm just proud when I get out and run. I'm doing the DL Half in a few weeks and the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge at DL in November (10K Saturday; Half Sunday). My goal for November is 2:30 for the half - so you can tell I'm slow! Way to keep it up with running!