When I had surgery almost 13 years ago I progressed from liquids to mushies and then to solids as prescribed by my doctor. Once I was into solids my menu began expanding except for breakfast and lunch. I ate the same breakfast and lunch for 2+ years and boy did I ever get bored with it. I spent untold dollars on” bariatric foods” – pudding mixes, protein bars, and other highly processed items.
It worked though. I shed my weight, began my new life of living healthy, eating healthy, getting in my fitness and loving life. I soon began to realize that there were other foods besides tuna for lunch and chicken for dinner. I also realized that with the limited real estate in my stomach I wanted to eat food that tasted good since taste is related to emotional satiety so I began experimenting with different spices and creating WLS friendly recipes from old favorite comfort foods.
Next was feeding these foods to my family to see if they would enjoy them as much as I did. Guess what, they did, from my youngest grandchild through my husband of 49 years all were happy eating my food the majority of the time. They often asked for seconds too. I was encouraged so I kept doing this.
Working and being a WLS patient and feeding more than just myself it became apparent that I needed to plan meals so that at the end of the day:
- I had the ingredients on hand
- I didn’t have to wonder what was for the next meal
- Food became the fuel necessary to keep me healthy that also tasted good
- I would avoid drive through at all costs and restrict take out and in restaurant dining to once per week
This paid off for me, made my life easier and kept me on track, and saved a lot of money too. I wasn’t perfect all of the time, sometimes I didn’t make what was planned and there are ALWAYS those times when life steps in the way of the best laid plans.
For those “life interrupted” days I kept a protein bar in my purse and in my car, individual jerky packets in my car, and 2 extra liter bottles of water in my car. There was no reason I would be so hungry or thirsty that the drive through or convenience store would win. This also worked and is still working most of the time. I do wander off plan. I am less than perfect, just like the rest of you.
Initially I depended on my protein bars and jerky a lot, sometimes having a snack just for the sake of having a snack. I look at them differently now. Jerky or a protein bar are my emergency food supply and I have to be pretty darn hungry to reach for them. I’d rather eat REAL food…..a healthy protein source like fish, shrimp, chicken, pork, turkey, beef, and veggies prepared in ways that bring out their flavor as well as seasoned making them international delights. For example, last night’s shrimp was a stir fry with broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, and sweet red pepper in a home made tamarind sauce over a little bit of cauliflower rice. It rocked! Tonight it’s going to be turkey Bolognese (that I had portioned in the freezer) over zucchini noodles (zoodles) topped with some fresh grated parmesan cheese. I choose to eat like a foodie – why? Because I am a foodie. I love delicious food and have learned that it’s not macaroni and cheese or loaded baked potatoes or chicken fried steak that tantalizes my pallet, rather it is a new and tasty sauce, or maybe just a chicken or turkey burger seasoned to be Greek, Italian, Mexican or Thai flavored.
It’s not rocket science. We still repeat meals around here frequently. That’s what meal planning is about. Your Meat Loaf Mondays and your Taco Tuesdays and Fresh Fish Fridays are still safe.
What might happen if you tried one new recipe each week? If you were excited about what you were preparing and eating instead of being bored by the same old thing? How might that help serve your journey to health?
Find your recipes wherever you can- be sure to weigh and measure everything so you know what you are eating- calories, protein and carbs if you need to count them. Make big batches and freeze the leftovers in portion controlled containers or use them for lunch, and maybe even add the little bit of leftovers to an omelet for breakfast. The possibilities are endless.
I offer you the opportunity to have many, delicious, simple to follow recipes with nutrition information (calories and protein) at your fingertips in the cookbook I recently published with Wendy Campbell. It’s called Eat Your Way To Success And Learn How To Control Hunger and it can be purchased through Amazon.com or direct from my business WLS Success Matters.
Wherever you find your recipes have fun in the kitchen and learn to enjoy food in a new, healthy, and wonderful way.
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