Friday, May 21, 2010

My Friend the Calorie

I have learned a great deal through my dieting years about the quality of a calorie. While it's mostly true that a calorie is a calorie, that's not the whole story when it comes to how your body uses them.

If you want to have a 350 calorie meal, you have a lot of options. Some may be better than others. Some may taste better, and some (a few) may fill you up longer. I used to have a turkey sandwich on light bread, fat free light yogurt, and an apple for lunch nearly every day. This comes in at around:

366 calories
8g fiber
21g protein

It's in my calorie budget, albeit a little blah. But, after this type of lunch, I would be hungry by 2pm and require at least 200 more calories to get me through till I tore into supper.

I have learned to trick those calories into meaning much more. I want to keep the fiber and the protein, but lets get crazy and TRY to live a little.

Lunch now looks like this some days:

High Fiber Tortilla with 1/4c. spicy fat free refried beans and 1/4c. lowfat taco cheese with a dab of salsa and 10 or so baby carrots.

This one comes in at:

353 calories
19g fiber
27g protein

Sometimes I can't even finish the carrots. Yes, I know. I used to want to slap people that said things like that to. "Can't finish?" Welp, that's what happens when you get more bang for your calorie buck. And that 2pm snack? Skip it most days. Might have that apple later on to bridge the gap from lunch to dinner, but sometimes not.

So that's my story. I'm slowly deprogramming myself from the LowFat craze of the 1990's. If you do your best to get that protein and fiber packed in there, it sorta works itself out anyway. The hardest thing is backing away from having a starch at every meal. The baked potato with salsa was a favorite standby of my lowfat days.

Tonight I made a pork loin in mustard sauce with some red and yellow peppers in the sauce. I made broccoli on the side but couldn't think of a high fiber starch that I really even wanted to spend my calories on. When I asked hubby if he required a starch dish with the meal, he said the same, so we went without! The kids loved the pork and peppers and even Susan ate it all up WITH the broccoli!

I love to watch the kids enjoy nutritious foods. I used to feel a bit sorry for them that we don't have pop, chips, fruit snacks, and sugared cereals on hand like their friends. But know I just feel sorry for their friends.

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