Growing up, I wasn’t a well-rounded eater. My mom was a single, working parent, so there wasn’t a lot of cooking going on in our house. Plus she is one of the least adventurous people – when it comes to food – that I’ve ever met. Not that I’m putting my issues with food on my mom. Well, I am, but just a little. Don’t worry, my therapist says it’s fine.
Anyway, it wasn’t until I went to college that I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t like certain foods. It was that I didn’t like how my mom made them (anymore else?). That or I hadn’t even tried them because they weren’t in Mom’s repertoire. Now that I was out on my own (as out on my own as I could be with my parents paying my tuition, room and board), I expanded my food horizons…and at the same time, expanded my waist line.
What I’m finding now, as I try to drop the weight, is that my willingness to try new things is making eating better easier. If I was eating a salad with grilled chicken on it every single day for lunch, I can almost guarantee that I would be going AWOL from this adventure out of sheer food-boredom. Here are some of the “stranger” things I’ve added to my food catalogue lately:
Plain Greek Yogurt with Low Calorie Natural Protein Powder
When I first started eating low carb/high protein to lose this damn weight, protein shakes were my go-to breakfast. So much that I OD’ed on them and now the smell of them makes me want to vomit, which is not the kind of diet I want to be on. I still had a ton of protein powder left over, so I started to add it to random things to up the amount of protein I was taking in. One of my newly-discovered favorites is to add a flavored protein powder to plain Greek yogurt. Now, yes, you can buy flavored Greek yogurt, but one of those only has around 12 grams of protein, whereas the same amount of plain Greek yogurt with a half scoop of protein powder has 17. And buying the big container of plain Greek yogurt at the grocery store is way cheaper. Win-win.
There are mornings that I oversleep am too busy to put together my Greek yogurt/protein powder combo, so I have to go to the backup plan. After all, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail, right? So my grab-and-go breakfast back-up is these handy single serve muffins I can make in the office microwave. I don’t understand the black magic behind it, but you just add some water, nuke it, and you’ve got a decent tasting muffin with 20 grams of protein. They are actually so filling sometimes I eat it in two stages – which is fine by me. I’ve also bought the brand’s pancake mix, but I haven’t given it a try yet. I’ll report back.
If you followed our PGP Secret Santa, you know that the best Secret Santa ever, Post Grad Shibby, got me a
Veggetti Pro Table-Top Spiralizer. Now, maybe I’m childish, but I believe that everything tastes better in fun shapes, particularly when I’m trying to pretend that zucchini noodles (aka Zoodles) are an adequate replacement for pasta. And really, what’s more fun than one long giant curly-Q? I’ve taken to spiralizing everything: zucchini, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, apples. Does it change the fact that whatever I’m eating is not whatever I wish I was eating? No, but it makes it a little more fun.
Even with the wonder of the Veggetti, there are just days when spiralized zucchini just won’t cut it. So that’s when I turn to Banza. Now, know this: I hate chickpeas. I hate them in salads. I hate hummus. I avoid chickpeas like Roger Goodell avoids New England. So I was super skeptical when my nutritionist told me about chickpea pasta. Just try it, she said. It doesn’t taste like chickpeas, she said. And as much as I hate to say it, she’s right. While it still has a higher carb count that I usually go for, it also has almost five times the amount of protein than regular pasta, so I don’t feel that bad when I indulge. Does it taste exactly like regular pasta? No. But with some homemade sauce, it’s a really good facsimile.
Another recommendation from my nutritionist. Yes, it sounds like a child’s snack. But we’ve already established I’m a bit childish when it comes to food, so who cares? Despite the name, Mr. Cheese O’s are actually made for adults and are a delicious way to get a cheesy crunch in, which can be hard when you’re cutting carbs. They are individually packaged (with 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs and about 150 calories per pack) so there is instant portion control if you happen to have no willpower, as I do. The cheddar and parmesan flavors are my favs, but I haven’t tried French onion yet. Pro-tip: I also crush these up and put them on salads or use them as breadcrumbs.
Ok, so this one isn’t too weird, but I love it so much that everyone must know about it. Halo Top is basically a low sugar, low carb, higher protein version of ice cream for when I just fucking want ice cream, which honestly isn’t very often. My high school job was scooping ice cream and being around it for endless summers sort of dulled my desire. Even so, there are still times I just crave it, and Halo Top is a healthier alternative that tastes as good – if not better – than the real thing. It comes in 17 flavors, some of which are hard to find, but I highly recommend Birthday Cake and Peanut Butter Cup.
These are just a few of the “new to me” foods I’ve started to incorporate into my diet. Given that I promised to write this column for 6 months, I’m sure there will be a part 2… and probably 3, 4, 5, and 6 on the weeks that I don’t have anything else to write about. If you’ve got something you think I should try, drop it in the comments..
Starting weight to Lose: 30 pounds
Week 1 Results: – 1.1 pounds
Week 2 Results: – 2.1 pounds
Week 3 Results: +0.4 pounds
Week 4 Results: – 0.2 pounds
Remaining weight to lose: 26.2 pounds