Being a teacher, I find comfort and solace in a set routine and schedule. If I know what's coming next and I have everything planned out, life is going to be much easier for me and my students.
I've applied this philosophy to my diet and so far, it's helped me be successful.
Just like I plan for my work week one week ahead of when it's supposed to happen, I plan my eating week. I've done this ever since I've started teaching, but only recently have I done my planning with nutrition and caloric intake in mind.
I sit down every Saturday or Sunday, depending on what the weekend looks like and I map out 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Breakfast is the easiest thing, so I'll start with that first.
I am a big fan of breakfast and out of my daily caloric intake, breakfast probably has the biggest percentage of calories. I truly believe in a good breakfast, not only because it's what you hear everywhere you turn, but also because I've seen the person I am without a good breakfast and it's not pretty!
Usually a breakfast for me consists of five things and these things hardly ever change, as opposed to my lunches and dinners.
1. Slimfast Shake in Milk Chocolate (I like the Optimum that keeps hunger away for up to 4 hours)
2. Granola bar (9 grams of fiber, an ESSENTIAL part of breakfast and your diet)
3. Apple (Fuji's are the best, in my opinion)
4. Cup of soy milk (I drink this to help get my vitamins down.)
5. Cup of coffee with one TB of creamer
These things hardly ever change. I don't know why, but I like my breakfasts and rarely get tired of them.
Lunches are a different story; I mix it up more often. I almost always have a salad and fruit, but a few of the things that can accompany it are:
a. Slimfast shake
b. vegetable soup
c. chicken breast
d. assorted Lean Cuisines
Or anything else that catches my fancy and is good for me. I try to limit the carbs I take in, as well we the fat, but I try to "beef up" on the protein, as lunch during the school year is important for me. My students can always tell when I'm hungry.
Dinner is always different, as this is the meal I cook for MGK. I always plan healthy meals with veggies on the side (MGK's faves are broccoli). Some of his favorite meals are sloppy joes (from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook...sooo good), chicken pot pie (a family recipe from Aunt DER), and spaghetti (mom's recipe...yum). I love to cook for him...love love love it.
As a general rule for me though: I aim to eat dinner before 6pm every night. I don't know if there's any sort of rule about eating later, but this is how I go to bed comfortable. If I make pasta, I cut what looks like a normal portion in half and load up on a bunch of veggies. I also begin each dinner with a salad. Even when the meal is not pasta or breadlike, I watch my portions like a hawk.
Now, dinner is hard because it's hard to peg an actual caloric number on it and I'm no expert on figuring out calories in cooked meals. So, I guesstimate. I know that if I use heavy cream in something, that's going to be higher. That's why portion control is so important to me. But I would never sacrifice cooking for my husband (nutritional meals, but good ones) for pre-packaged, calorie counted meals. It means too much to me to do that. Plus, I love to cook.
What I'm doing is not hard, nor does it make me feel deprived. Just good and healthy, and I'll take that any day.