So, as mentioned in yesterday’s chicken-tastic post, I have been eating out A LOT lately.
(via Hyperbole and a Half)
This always seems to happen to me. For all my talk about how much I love cooking, I’m a bit wishy-washy about it, frankly. I go through phases of being incredibly motivated in the kitchen, wanting to experiment to high heaven and craft new, delicious, and healthy recipes. Then, for no apparent reason, I just lose it. The thought of slaving away in the kitchen exhausts me, and all I want to do is curl up with a Burrito Bowl or a styrofoam container full of takeout sushi each night. It’s been especially bad lately. Restaurants and fast-casuals have taken over my life, and it’s not doing my credit card statement much good either.
Of course, there are many, many reasons why eating out every day is not a good thing. I mean, I definitely don’t prescribe to the idea that you can never eat out if you want to lose weight. Um, obviously. I love trying new restaurants, going out to eat with friends, and I firmly believe that you can make healthy choices when eating out. That said, it does make things much more difficult. When your dinner buddy suggests splitting an appetizer of mozzarella sticks, it’s pretty hard to say no. And when your entire group orders burgers, it’s a challenge to choke out your order for a lightly dressed chopped salad.
I am all for going out to eat, but (to run the food analogy to the ground) I know that it should only be a side dish to my overall food lifestyle, not the main course. So, I am going to make a concentrated effort to get myself back in the cooking groove, and stop eating out so often. I also really want to move further into clean eating, not just low-calorie eating. I generally try do that anyway, but it’s still really hard not to be stuck in the dieter’s mentality of “anything with fat grams is bad for you!”. To this day, I still tend to steer towards all the non-fat, low-fat, pre-packaged kitchen-helper options when I’m grocery shopping. Even though the meal that I made Friday was fairly decadent and used things like (gasp!) butter, eating a comfortable amount (i.e. not stuffing myself silly) of real food with real ingredients left me feeling pretty good.
I’m still calorie counting (weeeeeell, most of the time), but I definitely want to reignite my desire to learn how to be healthy and balanced without caloric content being the sole determining factor of my meals. It is a learning process, so I know I need to be careful about not going overboard, but still! After all, if calories were the be-all and end-all, I would just be volume eating spaghetti squash for the rest of my life — and where’s the fun in that?
I’m actually pretty excited about having my post-roast homemade chicken stock on hand now to do some experimenting with in terms of homemade soups and sauces (as well as any other suggestions you might have for using broth!), and I am excited to restock my pantry with fun salad toppers. I would love to hear what your “go-to” at-home meals are! You know, the kind of meal that you always have the ingredients for in your fridge and pantry. If I’m going to break my bad eating-out habit, after all, I’m going to need all the help I can get!
What’s your favorite/easiest/best go-to meal when cooking at home?