I’ve been struggling lately with a budget versus waistline debate. My doctor wants me to lose a total of 42 pounds (I’ve lost 15 so far) and has suggested that I limit my calorie intake to 1200 calories/day. Cooking as much as I do, this is no small challenge!
So far, I’ve managed to stick to my calorie goal most of the time while still cooking regular meals for my fella. I do that by cooking whatever’s on the menu for the day and then choosing to eat only the parts of the meal that will work with my diet plan. It’s expensive though.
We’re pretty good at eating on a budget most of the time. We stretch our food budget by including lots of vegetarian meals based upon legumes and grains, or upon pasta. Sadly, while nutritious, these meals are also very calorie-dense. If I wish to eat rice and beans for supper, very few calories can be used for the other meals of the day. I either fill up on huge quantities of fresh produce (expensive!) or I go hungry (undesirable). If I wish to spread my calories throughout the day, I end up relying more upon fish and lean meat for my proteins. That’s expensive too.
We have a very well stocked pantry, with many home canned fruits and vegetables on the shelves. The problem is that, in order to get the maximum nutritional benefit from canned fruits and vegetables, you should consume the liquid in the jars too. With fruits, in particular, this means extra calories.
Clearly we can’t go on spending what we have been, so I’ve been faced with a quandary: I either stick to my goal of 1200 calories/day and blow the budget, or I stay within the budget and exceed my 1200 calories/day.
I’ve decided on a compromise: We will return to our frugal pantry meals but I’ll try to maintain healthier eating habits by avoiding sweets, fried foods, and extra starches, and – in order to help make up for the extra calories – I’ll step up my level of physical activity. (The exercise part will be the hardest for me. I’ll let you know how that goes.)
In the meantime, here’s what we ate last week:
Monday, November 19:
- Breakfast – Boiled eggs, whole wheat toast, homemade blackberry jelly
- Supper – Vegetarian borscht, cottage cheese and dill bread, date and nut pudding cake
Tuesday, November 20:
- Breakfast – Toasted English muffins, cheddar cheese, apple slices
- Supper – Homemade yogurt and applesauce for me, tea and whole wheat toast for my fella (He wasn’t feeling well.)
Wednesday, November 21:
- Breakfast – Oatmeal and applesauce
- Supper – Wheat and white biscuits with sausage gravy, tomato, basil and onion salad topped with red wine vinaigrette, canned cherries
Thursday, November 22:
- Breakfast – Poached eggs on toasted leftover wheat and white biscuits
- Supper – Spaghetti squash with red tuna sauce, cottage cheese and dill bread (from the freezer) brushed with garlic infused olive oil and toasted under the broiler, ginger pear and custard tart
Friday, November 23:
- Breakfast – Oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisin, diced apples and homemade yogurt
- Supper – Vegetarian red beans and (brown) rice, carrot and celery sticks, radishes, left over tart from Thursday night
Saturday, November 24:
- Breakfast – Farmstead waffles, bacon, poached eggs
- Supper – Welsh rarebit in multi-grain toast (for my fella), salad greens and sliced tomatoes with herb vinaigrette (for me), Christmas cookies
Sunday, November 25:
- Breakfast – Canned peaches, homemade yogurt
- Supper – Corned beef and cabbage casserole, home canned potatoes, warm gingerbread with lemon sauce