Food is good…so eat it

I’m a believer in eating healthy.

And I know right now there are a few former roommates who are rolling their eyes. And I totally deserve that.

For example, when I was in graduate school I would sometimes skip meals OR eat an incomprehensible combination of foods, like a hot dog, a sliced cucumber in a bowl, and frosting on graham crackers. Like, a half inch layer of frosting. Then sit there with the tub of frosting and the graham crackers and repeat.

But I’m reformed. Well, kind of. I still sometimes do the random eat-whatever’s-in-the-fridge-because-it’s-too-much-work-to-make-a-meal-a-normal-person-would-eat thing, but since I’ve been trying to exercise on a regular basis and stay healthy, I’ve changed some of my eating habits to reflect that.

I actually eat breakfast now. Even if it’s just orange juice, cereal, and coffee. It’s a bigger deal than I thought it was. I mean, it makes logical sense. If I’m going to get up in the morning and beat the crap out of my body by making it run for MILES, I should probably put something in it first. I’ve written before about why dieting and running is stupid, and I stand by that. If I don’t eat enough, and I exercise, I feel awful. The thing is, running burns/slaughters/fries/stabs calories, so I darn well better make sure I’ve had enough (and I don’t always – and then I pay the price, so you get to benefit from my mistakes! Isn’t that gracious of me?).

But I still need to avoid eating too much junk. So we try to keep the following out of our apartment:

  • cookies (although last week’s Kitchen Aid initiation was a notable exception, and I managed to pawn off almost all of those on Ben’s MBA group…okay, so first I ate a ton of dough and cookies…okay, go ahead and hit me with the hypocrite stick.)
  • chips/cheese puffs or anything of that nature (excepting pita)
  • ice cream
  • cake (that was the sound of my heart breaking)
  • frosting (this would wouldn’t be a problem for most people, since they put frosting only on a baked cake, but that never stopped me – I eat it by the spoonful when it’s around)

…and so on and so forth. That’s not to say I like it that much, but since I have no willpower, keeping that stuff away from me is the only way to avoid it. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been moments of weakness – I sometimes buy the boxes of Hershey candy bars usually reserved for s’mores. But I try to eat them…um…somewhat slowly.

I also look up calories for stuff sometimes before we go out to eat. I’ll be frank, sometimes I just don’t want to and I’m a firm believer in the fact that every once awhile you simply must, I repeat MUST have a giant disgusting cheese laden burger, but a lot of the time I want to know what’s going into my mouth before I go.

So here are a few of those meals as an example, sort of my own “eat this,” “not that”:

  1. This is actually just a general dessert guideline. Your average restaurant dessert has about 500-600 calories at best. One Special Dark Hershey bar? 180 calories. That’s right. You can eat a whole freaking candy bar for a third of the calories of a restaurant dessert. So skip it. And then go home and eat a whole freaking candy bar.
  2. Starbucks. The cool thing about Starbucks is that it has this fabulous interactive nutrition chart on their website, which means you can adjust and change the size of the drink, add or take away whipped cream to find out what you’re actually ordering. So, take the venerated Pumpkin Spice Latte for example: Grande with whipped cream? 380 calories. Without whipped and with nonfat milk? 260 calories. Or try a Grande Cappuccino, 120 calories. Add a packet of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg – it’s amazing (shout out to Liz Bonn for creating my new favorite drink).
  3. Red Robin. They have a great nutrition calculator, too. So I can have my french onion soup and salad with Italian dressing for 541 calories. It’s not super low, but hey, it’s Red Robin. It’s not exactly diet food.
  4. Split stuff. Nobody can put away and entire restaurant sized meal on their own except for my dad and my brother, and I’m not entirely sure they’re human. So split a meal with someone, save calories, save money, and then go home and eat a whole freaking candy bar. 
  5. Also, did you know that an actual serving sized piece of cheesecake from Safeway is around 250 calories? It’s a fraction of the size of a Cheesecake Factory piece, but hey, we’re not really designed to consume diabetic-coma-inducing sized pieces of cheesecake anyway.
  6. If you drink, have a glass of wine instead of a beer. Much better for you. And for the love of pete, if you must have a beer, have a beer, not five of them.

This is not to say that I have things all figured out, food-wise. I most definitely do not. But these are a few changes I’ve made that have helped me and I just wanted to share. My bottom line philosophy is to not really go for diet food, but try to eat things that are more worthwhile. And every once in awhile, pig out. Like on your birthday, or a weekend out with friends. Food is fun!

Have food philosophies to share? I’d love to hear them!

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