Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Empty Fridge Syndrome


Don't you just hate it when you don't know what to have for dinner?  You open the fridge and there's nothing there.  Nothing you want or feel like, anyway.

I hate that!!!  It is especially dangerous when you are watching your nutrition.  It leads to being hungry and binge eating foods that are not healthy.  I used to eat an entire container of ice cream in one night if I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat.

I have learned to keep a few MUST haves on hand at all times.  Here are a few:
  • Coffee
  • Salad fixings:  greens (either salad greens, kale or spinach), cucumbers, tomatoes (at all times)
  • Bear Naked granola or  Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Greek yogurt (Oikos Triple Zero is my favorite)
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breasts (I pre-cook these and freeze individual portion sizes)
  • Almond milk
  • Protein Powder
  • Bananas
  • Peanut Butter
I could survive on just these for a few days if there was nothing else to eat AND know my nutrition would be on point.  To avoid the "Empty Fridge Syndrome", you have to learn how to keep the essentials on hand.

I avoid it by meal planning.  I don't do intensive meal prepping because it doesn't work for me.  I make my lunch and put together my snacks the night before. A typical day in meals might look like this for me:

Breakfast:  Coffee, two eggs, one slice whole wheat bread
a.m. snack: 1 oz. almonds
Lunch:  Vegetable Soup (homemade) and grilled chicken breasts
p.m. snack:  6 oz. Greek Yogurt
Dinner:  Chicken thighs, lentils, roasted Brussels sprouts
evening snack:  a Skinny Cow ice cream (maybe)

Breakfast, lunch and my snacks are pretty much the same thing every day for a week at a time.  Dinner varies, but I do eat left overs.  My goal is always to reach at least 100 grams protein each day, so focusing on protein for each meal and snack gets me to that goal.

Calories:  255; 20 g protein, 13 g fat, 17 g carbohydrates
(Including the cream in my coffee, not pictured.)
I buy Arnold's Double Protein bread, which has 7 g protein in one slice.
This week for breakfast, I had a protein shake on Monday - Tuesday and two eggs with whole wheat toast yesterday and today.  For lunch I had a salad with grilled chicken for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday I had grilled chicken with lentils, and steamed vegetables (this is planned for today, as well).  These are easy to make and healthy meals.

For dinner, I had an egg frittata both Monday and Tuesday (I wasn't feeling well).
Easy peasy:
I take a handful of baby spinach and wilt it in the microwave. then I drain the excess liquid and cut it up.
While the spinach is cooking, I scramble one egg (with a fork) and add in 1/2 C egg whites, blending well.
I add 1/4 cup low fat feta cheese and the spinach.
I cook in a hot pan (pre-warmed on medium heat).  It takes about 5 minutes to cook, sometimes longer.  I flip it over so the eggs cook on both sides.  I love it and it's super good for your macros.
212 calories:  7.5 g fat, 5 g carbohydrates, 27.3 g protein
You can add other vegetables if you want.  I'm on a spinach kick right now.
Wednesday night, I was low on calories, so I had a feast:
A 6 oz. pork chop with Shake N Bake, a 3 oz. sweet potato, steamed vegetables, a salad with light dressing and canned peaches in their own juice.
The meal was over 600 calories, but like I said, I was low on calories and I needed to eat.  I can't give you all the macros as they worked out, but you could bring the meal down to a lot less calories by eliminating the salad (and dressing). the peaches and cutting the pork chop down.
Tonight's dinner will be grilled sirloin, roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables.

If you struggle with "Empty Fridge Syndrome," this weekend, try to stock your cupboards and fridge with some basic essentials.  This way, when you don't know what to eat, you have these to fall back on.  It's amazing how much variety you can add to eggs and chicken, without feeling like you are eating the same thing day in and day out.

Questions for you...
What's your favorite breakfast food?
What's your healthiest meal?  Will you share the recipe with me?  Send me pictures too

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